Progress in resuming business in the Court of Session has been applauded by the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Roddy Dunlop QC.
A week ago Mr Dunlop was critical of the fact that while Inner House appeals were scheduled to restart next week, using remote hearings, no Outer House business was yet being enabled. He contrasted the position unfavourably with that in England & Wales, where cases were being heard and decided at first instance. (Click here for report.)
Yesterday Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service (SCTS) announced via Twitter that weekly court rolls are to recommence for the Court of Session, initially containing future Inner House hearings and Outer House procedural business.
While emphasising that much still needed to be done, Mr Dunlop hailed the "admirable advances" and praised the efforts of all parties involved.
He commented: "The advances achieved by the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service in a short space of time are admirable.
"Much work remains to be done, in particular in getting the sheriff and Sheriff Appeal Courts up and running. This is acquiring particular urgency in family law cases, where the cessation of business is causing disquiet and distress.
"At this difficult time, a collaborative approach is necessary. There will, in particular, be an increasing importance for electronic papers to be made available for parties and for the courts. But all parties have already shown willing in this regard, and the profession is rising to the challenge to ensure the continued delivery of civil justice in Scotland."
Earlier this week, John Mulholland, President of the Law Society of Scotland, also welcomed the progress being made and the willingness of SCTS "to engage positively on developing measures with a view to delivering essential civil court business". The Society's Civil Justice Committee has been among those working with SCTS on the new procedures.
- Naomi Pryde, a member of the Society's Council who is dual qualified in Scotland and in England & Wales, is collecting views, "as a concerned civil court practitioner", from solicitors in Scotland on behalf of the Society, on the SCTS approach. She can be contacted by email at Naomi.Pryde@dwf.law.