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Breach of Interdict Orders in the Sheriff Court

November 21, 2022 By Claudia Hoey Civil Litigation

Interdicts are civil Court orders which are granted to stop someone from breaching your rights or committing a civil wrong. Interdicts can be granted in many circumstances and are granted by the civil courts to protect you. If you believe someone has breached the interdict granted against them, this can result in a fine or imprisonment as breaching an interdict order is quasi-criminal.

Should you wish to pursue a breach of interdict action, you will be required to raise a fresh civil application for the breach of interdict. This is separate from the original action outlining the conduct which resulted in you seeking the Interdict at the outset. This is by way of Summary Application in the civil courts. You will be required to establish the breach of interdict through demonstrating to the court the serious nature of the breach and any evidence you have to support it. You will also be required to demonstrate to the court the result of the breach and the likelihood of a repetition in behaviour or action should the court not intervene.

The fresh application is drafted and lodged at the Sheriff Court through an Initial Writ – this is a written document setting out the nature of the breach of interdict and the outcome you as a Pursuer are seeking from the court. The Initial Writ should ordain the Defender to appear personally at the court to explain their breach of interdict. The Initial Writ should also request the court to punish the Defender by fine or imprisonment. It is important your solicitor seeks confirmation from the Procurator Fiscal stating they concur with the beach of interdict action being lodged at court as it is quasi-criminal.

The court will then grant an interlocutor for the Initial Writ and Warrant to be served on the Defender which ordains him to appear personally at the Court to explain their position with the breach of interdict. The warrant is required for service by Sheriff Officers who will provide a report and an execution of service for the Court to note that the paperwork was served on the Defender.

The Defender will be required to attend the Court on the specified date to either deny or admit the breach. If the Defender denies the breach then an early diet of proof will be fixed and proceed as a standard proof in the sheriff court. The Defender can also admit the breach and apologize and show remorse for their actions. If the Defender admits the breach, matters will be dealt with at this time and the punishment deemed appropriate by the Court will be granted.

If the Defender fails to appear after the documents are served on them, the court is likely to adjourn the hearing and grant a warrant for the Defender’s apprehension – failing to appear when ordained to do so is a contempt of court. Once the Defender is apprehended, they will be brought to the hearing by Court Officers and they will be required to either deny or admit the alleged breach of interdict.

The punishment will be at the discretion of the court. If the court grants a fine for the breach of interdict, this cannot exceed £2,500.00 as per the standard scale for penalties. If the court penalizes through imprisonment, this cannot exceed a three months sentence.

If you believe someone has breached an interdict order granted against them, please contact our experienced Dispute Resolution department who are more than happy to help you through this process.

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