Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review

Scottish authorities released the Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review on September 30. This was a far-reaching review designed to modernize the Scottish system of civil justice. The extensive Report is available in two PDF files; as well, there is a synopsis [PDF] available.

The mandate for the Review was:

To review the provision of civil justice by the courts in Scotland, including their structure, jurisdiction, procedures and working methods, having particular regard to

  • the cost of litigation to parties and to the public purse;
  • the role of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution in relation
    to court process;
  • the development of modern methods of communication and case
    management; and
  • the issue of specialisation of courts or procedures, including the
    relationship between the civil and criminal courts;

and to report within 2 years, making recommendations for changes with a view to improving access to civil justice in Scotland, promoting early resolution of disputes, making the best use of resources, and ensuring that cases are dealt with in ways which are proportionate to the value, importance and complexity of the issues raised.

The Report makes extensive and regular reference to practices in other jurisdictions, including Canada. Some of the recommendations relate to features that are unique to the Scottish legal system. However, many address features common to most common law systems, such as those relating to: case management (Chs.5, 9), IT (Ch. 6), ADR (Ch. 7), facilitation of settlement (Ch. 8), delay in judgments (Ch. 10, and access to justice (Chs. 11, 12, 14).

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