Justice and Safety
The Modernisation of Scotland’s Courts
Two new courts opened a week ago today in Scotland, heralding the biggest modernisation of Scotland’s courts in more than a century.
The Criminal Sheriff Appeal Court will hear summary criminal appeals from Justice of the Peace and sheriff courts as well as summary or solemn bail proceedings from these courts. An onward appeal to the High Court from the Sheriff Appeal Court will be available subject to a strict test. Appeals in solemn cases will continue to be heard at the High Court.
The Sheriff Personal Injury Court, located at Edinburgh sheriff court, will provide a new central forum of expertise for personal injury cases. The court will deliver benefits including specialist personal injury sheriffs, specialist personal injury court procedures and civil jury trials.
These new courts are just two of the measures being implemented under the Scottish Government’s Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 which implements many of the recommendations from the Scottish Civil Courts Review. The review reported in 2009 and was led by the previous Lord President of the Court of Session, Lord Gill, who was Lord Justice Clerk at the time. The Bill was enacted in November 2014 after extensive consultation and stakeholder events around Scotland.
Other measures which have just come into force include the raising of the threshold below which only the sheriff court can deal with civil cases to £100,000 and introducing changes to the procedures for Judicial Review and appeals to the UK Supreme Court.
Further measures which include the Civil Sheriff Appeal Court, a new simple procedure which will replace the current small claims and summary cause procedures and the introduction of summary sheriffs will be implemented in 2016.
Scottish Civil Justice Council