Stage 1 scrutiny by the Justice Committee
The Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 6 February 2014.
The Bill seeks to implement recommendations contained in the Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review (2009), which was led by Lord Gill. The Review concluded that the Scottish civil courts provide a service to the public which is “slow, inefficient and expensive” and recommended that “the court system has to be reformed both structurally and functionally”. The main provisions in the Bill include: an increase in the privative jurisdiction of the sheriff court; creation of ‘summary sheriffs’; establishment of a specialist Scotland-wide court; judicial specialisation; creation of a new Sheriff Appeal Court; changes in the way petitions for judicial review should be brought; new procedures relating to criminal and civil appeals; and merger of the Scottish Courts Service and Scottish Tribunals Service.
The Committee issued a call for evidence on Tuesday 18 February 2014.
The Committee took oral evidence at its meetings on 18 and 25 March and 1, 22 and 29 April 2014.
The Committee published its Stage 1 Report to the Parliament on 9 May 2014.
Consideration of the Bill at Stage 1 concluded with the debate in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 21 May 2014.
The Parliament has agreed that the Stage 3 debate in the Chamber will take place on 7 October 2014. The deadline for members to lodge amendments is 4.30pm on 1 October 2014. Further information on the Bill is available on the Bill homepage.
SPICe prepared a table comparing the Gill Review recommendations with the provisions contained in the Bill.
Committee visit to courts
On Tuesday 20 May the Committee visited the Court of Session, the High Court and the Judicial Institute for Scotland.