New Rules for the Sheriff Appeal Court (Civil)

Dec 16, 2015

A package of new court rules drafted by the Scottish Civil Justice Council will come into force on 01 January 2016, when the Sheriff Appeal Court takes up its civil jurisdiction and competence.

The Act of Sederunt (Sheriff Appeal Court Rules) 2015 (“the Sheriff Appeal Court Rules”) makes provision about the procedure to be followed in appeals to the Sheriff Appeal Court in civil proceedings. The Council recommended that the rules for the new Sheriff Appeal Court (for civil business) should broadly follow Chapter 40 (Appeals from Inferior Courts) of the Rules of the Court of Session, a procedure that has been successfully reformed recently, with any such modifications as are necessary to take account of sheriff court practice and procedure.     

The Act of Sederunt creates a new bespoke set of rules for the Sheriff Appeal Court’s civil function and the rules have been drafted, so far as possible, in a more accessible style in accordance with the Style Guide recommended in the Final Report of the Rules Rewrite Working Group. The rules will be subject to a 12-18 month review as part of the rewrite project.  

Secondary legislation in respect of solicitors’ fees as a result of the new procedure has also been made. The Act of Sederunt (Fees of Solicitors in the Sheriff Appeal Court) 2015 regulates the taxation of accounts of expenses between parties in relation to proceedings in the Sheriff Appeal Court. This fees instrument is closely modelled on the existing sheriff court and Court of Session fees instruments. The instrument is divided in three broad groups of provisions: the main body of the act of sederunt, Schedule 1 and Schedule 2. The main body of the act of sederunt contains general provisions about accounts of expenses. Schedule 1 enables solicitors to prepare accounts of expenses on a detailed fee basis, where every piece of work is individually itemised.  Schedule 2 enables solicitors to prepare accounts of expenses on an inclusive fee (or “block fee”) basis. 

A further instrument has also been made which makes consequential amendments to the court rules. The Act of Sederunt (Rules of the Court of Session, Sheriff Appeal Court Rules and Sheriff Court Rules Amendment) (Sheriff Appeal Court) 2015 amends a number of existing sets of rules so that their appeal provisions now point appellants to the Sheriff Appeal Court Rules, as well as making a number of other technical changes. Saving provision has also been made for appeals against decisions of a sheriff given before 1 January 2016, as those appeals will continue to be dealt with under the existing rules.

 

 

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