A Scott Schedule is a unique form of pleading that was initially devised by George Alexander Scott, an Official Referee, for use in building disputes. Over the years, this has gradually been adopted, in various forms, to other types of litigation. In building arguments, Scott Schedules are used to precisely identify the questions that a judge will have to decide. Scott schedules are used in cases where there are complaints of inadequate quality, where the work done is disputed, particularly in deciding how much should be paid to the party ordered to rectify the defects.
The idea of a Scott schedule is a travelling document that 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 specific work has either not been done according to the contract or not completed satisfactorily.
A Scott Schedule is a table that lists the issues and records the parties’ positions against each case. The format takes its name from the judge who first used one. Although Scott Schedules are generally associated with formal construction disputes, there is no reason why parties should not use them during discussions or negotiations before a dispute has arisen.
A Scott Schedule has no prescribed layout: it should be prepared to suit the circumstances. However, most Scott Schedules will state (or summarise) the parties’ views against a list of issues, which is particularly useful if there is a long list of the different problems.
A Scott Schedule may contain;
- A unique delay reference
- Description of delaying Event
- Reference to the relevant contract terms
- Reference to key documentation such as instructions or key correspondence
- Quantification of the delay; and
- The effect on the completion date.
Typically, a Scott Schedule would be compiled by the party making a claim and issued to the other side to incorporate their views. By tabulating, the parties’ positions on each issue make it easier to identify and hopefully resolve the differences.