Final Report of the Rules Rewrite Working Group

Apr 24, 2015

The Final Report of the Scottish Civil Justice Council’s (SCJC) Rules Rewrite Working Group was published today and is available here.  Under the title Final Report on the ‘Making Justice Work 1’ Rules Rewrite Project the report builds on the Interim Report, published on 28 March 2014, and sets out in detail how new civil court rules should be drafted to achieve the aims of modernisation and simplification.

The Rules Rewrite Working Group (RRWG) was tasked with developing a ‘rules rewrite methodology’ for the Rules Rewrite Project to produce the rules of court required to implement the recommendations of the Scottish Civil Courts Review and the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill.  The SCJC has approved the Working Group’s rules rewrite style guide, together with its guidance on instructing new rules, bringing to a close the Group’s work on developing a methodology.

When the SCJC met on 30th June 2014 it agreed that the RRWG should become the Rules Rewrite Committee (RRC) and that its remit and membership should be extended.  The Committee will build on the work of the Working Group by developing a statement of principle and purpose for the rules of the sheriff court and the Court of Session.  It has a wide remit to propose and prepare rules for the civil courts and will, in particular, be preparing rules to address: 

  • the creation of a Sheriff Appeal Court and Appeal Sheriffs;
  • the introduction of summary sheriffs;
  • the reform of judicial review proceedings;  and,
  • case management.

The rules of court have been developed on a piecemeal basis over a long period of time – some of them are centuries old.  As a result the current body of rules have unnecessary duplication and specialisation making them more complex than they need to be.  The Scottish Civil Courts Review proposed major reform to the civil justice system and the Rules Rewrite Project is supporting this by making court rules more accessible to all court users through consolidation, harmonisation and simplification.  For example, the rules rewrite style guide sets out that:  all essential information should be included in the rules so that it is available in a single place to ensure the system is accessible to all users;  and, that Latin should only be used for a good reason and should have a translation.

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

“The Final Report sets out the detailed methodology for the extensive rewriting of the rules of the Scottish civil courts required by the Scottish Civil Courts Review and the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.

I thank the Working Group members for their thoughtful consideration of the process of writing rules of court.  And on behalf of the Scottish Civil Justice Council I thank all those who contributed to the preparation of the rules rewrite methodology and gave freely of their knowledge and expertise.”

 

Contact details:

For further information please contact:

Mandy Williams, Scottish Civil Justice Council Secretariat

scjc@scotcourts.gov.uk  / 0131 240 6769


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