It has been over a year now since the introduction of the core Simple Procedure Rules (“Core Rules”) in Scotland. The Core Rules were aimed at providing a speedy, inexpensive and informal procedure for the resolution of non-personal-injury civil disputes of a cash value up to £5,000.
The introduction of the Simple Procedure (Special Claims) Rules (“Special Claims Rules”) will extend the rules to other types of civil actions, including actions for recovery of possession. The Special Claims Rules also aim to have Civil Online in place to allow solicitors and members of the public to track case progress online, submit cases for registration, defend their cases, pay court fees and lodge documents into what will form the digital case file. The Special Claims Rules were initially scheduled to come into force by April 2018. However, this deadline has now been pushed back to autumn 2018.
This revised deadline was agreed by the Making Justice Work Programme Board (delegated by the Scottish Civil Justice Council with making the rules), to allow additional time to consider feedback from court users, evaluate the Core Rules and to incorporate any improvements before introducing the Special Claims Rules. The Core Rules have been subject to uncertain and interpretative judicial decisions, especially in the area of expenses. No doubt this was part of the reason for the delay in the introduction of the Special Claims Rules.