28 January 2015
The Lord President has announced today the timetable for implementation of key features of the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014. The following reforms will take effect in September 2015.
- the establishment in Edinburgh of a sheriff court with Scotland-wide jurisdiction for personal injury cases;
- the extension of the exclusive jurisdiction of the sheriff court to actions with a value of up to £100,000;
- the establishment of the Sheriff Appeal Court, initially with jurisdiction for criminal cases, and, from January 2016, with jurisdiction also in civil cases;
- the introduction of the permission stage for judicial review proceedings.
Summary Sheriffs will deal with the new simple procedure which will come into force in the spring of 2016. The appointment process for the first summary sheriffs will be initiated in July 2015.
The Lord President has also announced that he intends to launch a feasibility study into the creation of an Energy and Natural Resources Court in the Court of Session to provide a specialist forum for litigation in those fields. He proposes that if such a court is established, it should sit in other centres (possibly Glasgow or Aberdeen) if the need should arise.
A copy of the Lord President’s speech, given today, can be found here:
By enacting and now providing a timetable for implementing this legislation, the Scottish Government has set in motion an overhaul of how the Scottish Courts will operate going forward. Many believe that this Act will make access to justice in civil cases easier, more affordable and lead to cases being resolved more efficiently. Some offer a different opinion. A concern, regularly raised during the progress of the Bill, relates to the capacity of the Sheriff Courts to handle the volume of cases that will now be taken out-with the remit of the Court of Session, against the background of Sheriff Court closures across the country. We will now not need to wait long to find out whether these concerns have merit.
Contact: Karina Manson, Partner, firstname.lastname@example.org T. 0141 221 8012