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Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill published 07/02/2014 The Scottish Government has published the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill, which will introduce major changes to Scotland’s civil courts.

Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill published

The Scottish Government has published the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill, which will introduce major changes to Scotland’s civil courts.

“With the introduction of this Bill Scotland has the opportunity to have a civil justice system that is fit for a modern Scotland,” said The Lord President, Lord Gill. “Delay and cost have been the bane of Scottish justice for decades. These reforms will enable the courts to deliver the quality of justice to which the public is entitled.”

The Bill implements many of the recommendations of Lord Gill’s Scottish Civil Courts Review, including proposals to:

  • Increase the threshold under which the sheriff court can deal with civil cases from £5,000 to £150,000
  • Create a new national personal injury sheriff court, where such cases will be heard by specialist sheriffs.
  • Create a national Sheriff Appeal Court to deal with summary criminal appeals from sheriff and justice of the peace courts, and civil appeals from sheriff courts.
  • Create the new judicial post of summary sheriff.
  • Bring in specialist sheriffs and specialist summary sheriffs in areas of law such as family, housing, personal injury and commercial law, with the expertise to deal with these issues as swiftly as possible.
  • New procedures for judicial review cases in the Court of Session including a three month time limit, and new procedures for appeals within the Court of Session.

The Bill also introduces procedures for a new leave to appeal stage in civil appeals from the Court of Session.

Under section 40 of the Court of Session Act 1988 two counsel must currently certify whether an appeal from the Court of Session may proceed to the UK Supreme Court. This is being removed and replaced with an application to the Court of Session for permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court, and if the Court of Session refuses, an application for the permission of the UK Supreme Court to appeal.
 

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