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Catriona Macleod recent appeal update

Ian Anderson v Louise Weddell, 2013 CSIH 34
Decree by default following withdrawal of solicitor, non appearance at diet of debate

Inner House appeal raised questions concerning the proper construction of Ordinary Cause Rules 24.2 (withdrawal of solicitors) and 16.2 (decree by default).  The Court also considered the case of Trad Hire & Sales Ltd v Campbell 2003 SLT (Sh Ct) 41.  The appeal was refused.  In the opinion delivered by Lord Clarke the Court considered that the wording of provisions of OCR 24.2 (1A), gives the sheriff an unfettered discretion to decide what course to follow, having regard to all the relevant circumstances of the case and, does not fall to be read as obliging the sheriff in every case to follow the procedure set out in OCR 24.2(1).  The words “consider the matter” (24.2(1A)(b)) in the Court’s opinion fell to be read as having that effect.  It followed that in so far as the decision of Sheriff Principal Kerr in Trad Hire & Sales Ltd v Campbell suggests that the interplay of OCR 16 and OCR 24 does not involve simply the exercise of a discretion on the part of the sheriff, having regard to all the relevant circumstances, that decision fell to be disapproved.