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New timetable for reform set to make courts more accessible for Scottish business

28 January 2015 | tagged News release

In response to today’s announcement by the Lord President on the timetable for reform of Scotland’s civil courts, Alistair Morris, president of the Law Society of Scotland said:

The timetable for reform set out today by the Lord President is set to transform our civil courts through the use of technology, improved administration systems and greater judicial specialisation and make them more accessible for Scottish businesses and members of the public.

It’s right that the Lord President has considered Scotland’s economic opportunities and how the courts can best serve them. There has been enormous change within the legal sector in recent years and we are pleased the Lord President has recognised the level of change. In many ways solicitors have been at the sharp end of that change and have responded by restructuring their businesses in order to compete not just in Scotland and the UK, but on an international platform.

Today’s speech announced there would be a feasibility study for a new Energy and Natural Resources Court. We and our members would be very keen to participate in this study and hear from businesses operating in this sector.

And while the changes to the privative jurisdiction limit will see an increase in the number of cases being heard in sheriff courts, something we previously expressed reservations on, we know that our members will work to successfully support this transition and represent their clients including in the most complex cases.

The changes to the appeal process through a sheriff appeal court will also bring about efficiencies and I congratulate Sheriff Principal Mhairi Stephen QC on her new role as President of the Sheriff Appeal Court.

We also anticipate that the introduction of new summary sheriffs and specialist sheriffs will create new opportunities for solicitors who are considering a judicial career. There are many specialist solicitors who could bring their knowledge and expertise to the bench.

ENDS                                                                          28 January 2015

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Journalists can contact Sarah Sutton on 0131 476 8170 or email

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