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Scott Schedule

A Scott schedule is a special form of pleading that was originally devised by George Alexander Scott, an Official Referee, for use in building disputes. Over the years this has gradually been adapted, in various forms, to other types of litigation. In the area of building disputes, Scott Schedules are used to identify precisely the questions that a judge will have to decide. They are often used in cases where there are complaints of bad workmanship, where the work done is disputed and particularly in deciding how much should be paid to the party who is ordered to rectify the defects.

The idea of a Scott schedule is that it is a travelling document, which passes between the parties to enable one side to set out their arguments (the Claimant) and then the other side to respond (the Defendant). The first step is to separate the complaints being made into the individual items being disputed. This is either the builder complaining that the client has not paid him for work undertaken, or the client complaining that certain work has either not been done according to the contract, or not completed satisfactorily.

A Scott Schedule is a table which is usually set out on A4 paper in landscape format. In the first column after the item number, the Claimant sets out each complaint about the workmanship separately. The Claimant is also expected to identify in the next column how much he says it will cost to put the item right. At a trial, the Claimant will be expected to back up these figures with quotations and estimates. In the next two columns, the Defendant sets out his response to each individual complaint. Even if he denies that he is liable at all, he is expected to give his figure for any remedial work. If he doesn't, and the Judge decides that the Claimant's complaint is right, the Judge will only have the Claimant's figure to work with. It is also important that a proper response is included, rather than just "denied" or "not admitted". If the case then goes to Court the final column(s) in the schedule is used by the judge to set out the decision reached on each item.

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Brevity is essential in a Scott Schedule

Complaints and responses

Usually the complaints and the responses involve quite detailed explanation, but in the schedule there should be the shortest possible summary.

Detailed explanations are given in statements and in evidence in court. Here is an example of a simple Scott Schedule:

If many more columns are required than shown above, more than one page may be needed to fit all the columns across sensibly.

If that happens, the first and second columns on the first page should be repeated as the first and second columns on the extension sheets to make cross-referencing easier.

A basic schedule

We offer a basic schedule for you to use, along with variations for both defects and delays arguments, and should point out that it is important that you change the column headings to suit the circumstances of your particular case. The general format should be followed, but the idea is to use the schedule to help set out the issues, not restrict matters too much.