Thanks for your question.
The issue is whether the transfer of money was by way of gift (which case you could not recover the money) or a loan (in which case you could). The fact that there is no written contract in place is not fatal to your case because an oral contract is binding just the same.
If there was an expectation that the money was to be paid back and you have evidence of this (eg. correspondence, emails, texts etc) then you will have a higher likelihood of recovering the money assuming they have assets with which to pay the sum owed.
If there was no such evidence then your claim is weaker and will turn on the credibility a judge attaches to your respective statements about the circumstances of the transfer of money.
You can issue a claim for the money yourself or instruct a solicitor to do it for you. I attach a link to the Scottish Courts web page containing lots of useful information on doing this:-
Before issuing though you may consider asking a local solicitor to write a letter before action from their firm to your step-daughter/partner (whoever the money was transferred to) setting out the situation and asking that they either repay the money or suggest a repayment plan within a specified time (eg. 14 days) failing which you will issue a claim for the monies. This should cost in the region of £40.00 and it sometimes brings home the fact that you are serious.
Alternatively you can write to them yourself firstly if you think you will get any traction with the letter.
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