A number of enhancements to benefit users involved in simple procedure litigation are being introduced to Civil Online on 13 December 2018, Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service has announced.

The court document display and electronic notification changes will mean:

  • Civil Online users will be able to open, save and print a range of court-generated simple procedure documents via the portal.
  • Courts will be able to send documents electronically to parties and their representatives who have elected for "online" contact. This will remove the requirement on court staff to send many court documents by post.
  • Civil Online users will receive notice when documents have been submitted by other parties in their simple procedure cases.

These features will be available for all cases registered by sheriff courts from 13 December 2018.

They will allow simple procedure rule 6.5(1)(d), under which a document can be "sent" by the court by "making it available to that party using the portal on the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service website", to be applied.

The changes will deliver the following benefits to users and SCTS:

  • Civil Online users will receive close to real-time notification of decisions in their cases.
  • Civil Online users will have access to case information and court-generated documents outwith normal office hours.
  • The notification process will be secure and reliable.
  • Courts will now actively inform Civil Online users when documents have been lodged by other parties.
  • These changes will help reduce the number of documents sent by courts, saving both paper and postage costs and reducing the administrative workload of staff.
  • The availability of court documents via Civil Online will reduce correspondence between users and courts.

To ensure that users, the judiciary and court staff have confidence in the new process, there will be a transitional period of at least four weeks during which courts will continue to send documents by post in all cases to allow post-release testing to take place.

Only once the effectiveness of the new process has been tested to ensure it meets the high standards required, will courts move away from the practice of posting all documents.

In order to begin receiving electronic notifications and gain access to court documents, firms must:

  • opt in to the service on a case by case basis by indicating their preferred method of communication as "online" in section B5 of the simple procedure claim and response forms;
  • be a registered user of Civil Online.

Firms that have not yet registered for this service can apply by completing the form at this link.