The online platform designed to support the new simple procedure in the sheriff court will not be available until after new year 2017, Scottish Courts & Tribunals (SCTS) announced today.

Although SCTS launched its new civil case management system across all sheriff courts last week, paving the way for the introduction of the new simple procedure from 28 November 2016, it has decided it needs more time to ensure that the online access is extensively tested with future users and fully protected against any cyber security threats to data or financial transactions.

"We see this as a sensible decision to make sure we can provide users with the level of confidence they will require in the integrity of the site and the security of information and document exchange", SCTS said today.

"While the work required will only take a relatively short number of weeks, given that Christmas and new year are fast approaching, we are now planning to introduce Civil Online in early 2017 and will confirm the release date shortly."

Once available, the platform, Civil Online, which will be accessible through the SCTS website, will enable claims to be made online, together with submission of documents, and payment of court fees - and parties will be able to track their case progress. It will be introduced initially for simple procedure actions up to £5,000 and extended to all areas of simple procedure during 2017.

In the meantime simple procedure forms and guidance will be made available from the website at in editable PDF format. Claims under simple procedure can be made from 28 November to sheriff courts in the same way as they currently are for small claims and summary cause.