April 2014

Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill

The Society gave oral evidence on the above Bill in March. The Society's main concerns centre around the proposals to reform the Scottish courts system, which could adversely affect access to justice due to the insufficient resources being allocated to implement the major reforms. The Society also has concerns around the proposal to introduce a £150,000 threshold for cases to be heard in the Court of Session. This would be a dramatic increase from the current £5,000 threshold and would result in a large transfer of cases from the Court of Session to the sheriff courts.

The Society is concerned that although more cases will be heard in the sheriff courts, there will be little increase in the number of sheriffs. This is likely to lead to delays in cases being determined and could adversely affect access to justice.

Whilst the Law Society backs an increase in the sheriff courts' jurisdiction limit, as it is recognised that costs are lower where disputes are litigated at the most appropriate level, the Society would prefer the limit to be set at around £50,000.

The full written evidence on the Bill can be found on the website.