Interim Report of the Rules Rewrite Working Group

Mar 28, 2014

The Interim Report of the Scottish Civil Justice Council’s (SCJC) Rules Rewrite Working Group was published today and is available here.

Under the auspices of the Scottish Government’s Making Justice Work Programme, a ‘Rules Rewrite Project’ has been commenced to make those rules more accessible to all court users through a process of consolidation, harmonisation and simplification.  The project will also support the once in a generation reform to the civil justice system proposed by the Scottish Civil Courts Review. 

The Interim Report, which has been endorsed by the SCJC, sets out the Group’s recommendations for the Rules Rewrite Project, addressing the vision and objective of the new rules, how the new rules should rules be drafted and the priority areas for implementation of civil courts reform.    

Key recommendations are:

  • Separate rules for the sheriff court and the Court of Session should be retained.However, with the exception of the simple procedure, the rules should be identical in procedure and wording where appropriate.
  • There should be a statement of principle and purpose in both the sheriff court and Court of Session rules, but it should not override the other rules of court.
  • The management of litigation should transfer to the courts and judges and the judicial system should take a proactive stance in managing the progression of cases through the courts.
  • A review of individual suites of new rules, around 18-24 months after their entry into force, should be built into the annual rules programme.
  • Subject to parliamentary consideration of the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill, the following areas for rules should be taken forward as a priority :
  • increase to the privative limit (‘exclusive competence’) of the sheriff court
  • new judicial offices of summary sheriff and Appeal Sheriff
  • creation of a Sheriff Appeal Court
  • creation of a specialist personal injury court, with civil jury trials
  • simple procedure
  • judicial case management
  • rules for enforcement / sanctions to ensure adherence to the rules
  • creation of compulsory pre-action protocols
  • amendments to judicial review

The Group is due to issue a final report in summer 2014, setting out in more detail how the new rules should be drafted, including how the aims of simplicity, modernisation and simplicity of the rules might best be achieved.  

The Lord President, the Right Honourable Lord Gill, Chair of the SCJC and of the Rules Rewrite Working Group, said:

“The Interim Report sets out the overarching framework for the most comprehensive rewrite of the rules of the Scottish civil courts to date.  

I am grateful to the members of the Working Group for their careful consideration of these important matters.  On behalf of the Scottish Civil Justice Council I would also like thank all those who contributed to the research carried out by the Group, including a range of esteemed colleagues in England and Wales as well as in Scotland.”   

Contact Details:

For further information please contact: Ondine Tennant at / Tel: 0131 240 6769


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