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Civil courts review
The Lord Justice Clerk, the Rt Hon Lord Gill, Chairman of the Civil Courts Review, yesterday issued a call for information and evidence to assist the Review in its work.
At the first meeting of the Policy Group appointed to support the work of the Review, Lord Gill said:
"I am pleased that we have been able to gather such an eminent and experienced Policy Group, and am delighted to have their support, alongside that of my distinguished judicial colleagues on the Project Board. I am grateful to all of them for their willingness to contribute to the Review.
"I hope that everyone who has views on the civil court system, and on how it can be made to work better for the benefit of the people of Scotland, will contribute constructive thoughts and ideas.
"The Review has the challenging task of looking at how civil justice in Scotland is currently operating and making recommendations as to how it can be improved. We shall report within two years.
"The Review will cover the structure and organisation of the civil courts; the kinds of cases the courts deal with and the stage at which disputes come to court; the practices and procedures used; the way litigants and witnesses are treated; and the way judges and court staff work. A formal consultation process will begin in the Autumn, but in the meantime we invite comments and proposals".
In February 2007 the Minister for Justice announced that the Lord Justice Clerk would lead a review of Scotland's civil courts. The Review began its work in April. Its formal remit is -
- 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
- the issue of specialisation of courts or procedures, including the relationship between the
civil and criminal courts
- to report within two 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 members of the Project Board of the review are -
- The Lord Justice Clerk
- The Hon Lord McEwan
- Sheriff Principal James Taylor
- Sheriff Mhairi Stephen
The members of the Policy Group are -
The Hon Lord Hodge
- Sheriff Principal E F Bowen QC
- Sheriff C Stoddart
- Mr N Ellis QC
- Ms Kirsty Hood, Advocate
- Mr Paul Cackette, Scottish Executive Justice Department
- Mr R Carr, Anderson Strathern WS
- Mr L Montgomery, Scottish Legal Aid Board
- Mr D Forrester, Scottish Court Service
- Mr E Malcolm, Scottish Mediation Network
- Ms S O'Neill, Scottish Consumer Council