Sheriff Court Success (12 March 2009)

Youngest lay representatives in Scotland to win a proof in the Sheriff Court.

On 10 March 2009, Emma Boffey and Mhairi Alexander successfully represented a Law Clinic client in a Small Claims Action, heard in Glasgow Sheriff Court. The pursuer (the client) had raised an action for payment, to recover her tenancy deposit which she claimed had been unlawfully retained by her landlord. The defender (the landlord) maintained that he had lawfully retained the deposit and alleged that the client had damaged the property.

The case centred around the factual and legal interpretation of the concept of “fair wear and tear” – if any damage was present in the flat after the tenancy came to an end, did it constitute unlawful damage, or did it fall to fair wear and tear, thereby discharging the client from further liability?

Negotiations proved unsuccessful and the case called for a full hearing with evidence before Sheriff Bowman – this entailed leading evidence from the client herself, and a witness, who had professionally cleaned the carpets in the flat on two occasions throughout the tenancy. In addition, the advisors were responsible for preparation of all productions, legal submissions and cross examination of the defender.

Ultimately, Sheriff Bowman found for the pursuer and awarded decree for the sum of £127.79 – perhaps a small amount to some, but nonetheless this case proves that without the assistance of the Law Clinic in terms of advice and indeed, representation, the client would have been unable to recover this sum she was due.

In succeeding in this case, Emma and Mhairi become the two youngest lay representatives in Scotland to have conducted, and won, a proof in the Sheriff Court.