Thursday, November 11, 2010

Scottish Government announces plans for implementing Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review on Scots ‘Victorian’ civil justice system

The Scottish Government have finally announced their intentions with regards to implanting ‘some’ of the recommendations of the Civil Courts Review, the damning critique of Scotland’s ‘Victorian’ civil justice system carried out by the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill. The Scottish Government say the proposals will take ‘some years’ to implement …

Readers can download the Civil Courts Review report in pdf format, from the Scottish Courts Website at the following links :

A more critical & in-depth analysis of the Scottish Government’s proposals can be viewed HERE

The Scottish Government’s full response to Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review can be viewed online here : Scottish Government Response to the Report and Recommendations of the Scottish Civil Courts Review or can be downloaded directly, here : Scottish Government Civil Courts Review response (pdf)

The Scottish Government release on their intentions to implement the Gill reforms :

Proposals for civil justice reform

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill today announced the Scottish Government's response to the Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review, a wide-ranging review led by Lord Gill.

In the report, Lord Gill presented 206 recommendations for change, representing a comprehensive programme of reform - recommendations that are today broadly endorsed by the Scottish Government as necessary for ensuring Scotland has an efficient and effective civil justice system for the 21st century.

The Scottish Government agrees with Lord Gill's analysis of the problems currently facing Scotland's civil courts and believes radical reforms are justified.

Subject to public debate on the details of Lord Gill's proposals, and current constraints on public spending, the following recommendations, in particular, are accepted:

* Civil court business should be reallocated to more appropriate levels, with a far greater proportion of civil court business to be heard by the sheriff courts

* A specialised personal injury court should be established as part of Edinburgh Sheriff Court

* The creation of a new Sheriff Appeal Court

* The introduction of a new role of District Judge

* Adoption of an improved and more active approach to case management

* The introduction of designated specialist judges

Work is already underway on several of Lord Gill's recommendations, and the Scottish Government will continue to work with key stakeholders, including the Scottish Court Service, to take forward proposals for the legislation required to reform and ensure Scotland's civil justice system continues to provide an effective and efficient service for any individuals, families, communities and businesses.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "I thank Lord Gill and the members of his project board, Lord McEwan, Sheriff Principal James Taylor and Sheriff Mhairi Stephen, together with all the members of the broader policy group and others who also participated in the review, either as individuals or as representatives of organisations. Their collective contributions have provided a landmark in the development of Scottish civil justice."

"I am pleased to announce the Scottish Government's commitment to taking forward the majority of Lord Gill's recommendations, which have been broadly welcomed by Scotland's legal community and by the Parliament.

“I am keen to maintain a broad consensus as we set about implementing the required changes. This will enable progress to be sustained across different sessions of the Parliament, as will be necessary with the timescales involved in fundamental change. The Government is establishing a major change programme entitled Making Justice Work which will co-ordinate and oversee reforms across the system."

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