Scots civil procedure
Scots civil procedure governs the procedural rules in the civil courts of Scotland. It deals with the jurisdiction of Scottish civil courts, namely the Court of Session and Sheriff Courts. Civil procedure is generally regulated by Acts of Sederunt which are ordinances passed by the Court of Session. Rules for the functioning of the Court of Session and the sheriff court are provided for by the Scottish Civil Justice Council, as recommended in Lord Gill's "Scottish Civil Courts Review".
Proposed reform of civil procedure
In 2009 Lord Gill, the Lord Justice Clerk, delivered his Scottish Civil Courts Review which was heralded as the "most far-reaching reform of Scotland's civil justice system in nearly two centuries".
Among his 206 proposals were:
- a major shift of work from the Court of Session to sheriff courts,
- removal of the jurisdictional overlap between those courts,
- specialisation of sheriffs in areas such as family law, commerce, personal injury,
- new district judges to deal with less legally complicated and low-value civil actions such as small claims and housing disputes.
In November 2010 the Scottish Government released its response to the Review accepting "the majority of Lord Gill's recommendations" including expressly the following proposals:
- "Civil court business should be reallocated to more appropriate levels, with a far greater proportion of civil court business to be heard by the sheriff courts
- "A specialised personal injury court should be established as part of Edinburgh Sheriff Court
- "The creation of a new Sheriff Appeal Court
- "The introduction of a new role of District Judge
- "Adoption of an improved and more active approach to case management
- "The introduction of designated specialist judges"
In October 2011, the Scottish Government announced consultation on appointments to a new Scottish Civil Justice Council to draft rules of procedure for civil proceedings in the Court of Session and sheriff court. The establishment of the Council was one of Lord Gill's 2009 recommendations.
- David Leask, "Blueprint for cheaper, faster, fairer justice for all", [The Scotsman], 1 October 2009, p 4 via factiva.com accessed 23 October 2011.
- The Scottish Government, "Proposals for Civil Justice Reform" (Media Release), Edinburgh, Scotland, 11 November 2010, via factiva.com accessed 23 October 2011.
- Julie Hamilton, "Scottish Government Consulting On Appointment Of A Scottish Civil Justice Council", Mondaq Business Briefing, 14 October 2011 via factiva.com accessed 23 October 2010.
- AD Murray, 'Court of Session procedure: past, present and future' (1997) 31 Scots Law Times 259-263
- G Maher and B Rodger, Civil Jurisdiction in the Scottish Courts (Greens Practice Library 2009)