The Scottish Civil Justice Council replaced the Sheriff Court Rules Council on 28 May 2013. The new Council will take over the rule drafting functions of this body and will also have a new, wider, role to advise and make recommendations on the civil justice system.
The creation of a single civil rules council for Scotland was one of the recommendations of the Scottish Civil Courts Review. Many of the review recommendations will need new rules of court and the Scottish Civil Justice Council, which will have oversight of the entire civil justice system, will be responsible for taking these forward. It will also be responsible for keeping the civil justice system under constant review.
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Appointed by the Lord President for the period 21 January 2011 to 20 January 2014
- Craig Scott, Sheriff Principal of Glasgow and Strathkelvin (Chairman)
- Mhairi Stephen, Sheriff Principal of Lothian and Borders
- Robert Dickson, Sheriff of South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway at Airdrie
- A Grant McCulloch, Sheriff of Tayside Central and Fife at Kirkcaldy
- Anthony Deutsch, Sheriff of Glasgow and Strathkelvin
- Mr Alan McLean, QC, Faculty of Advocates
- Mr Malcolm Speirs, Solicitor, Glasgow
- Mr Fraser Simpson, Solicitor, Glasgow
- Mr Robert McDonald, Solicitor, Aberdeen
- Ms Clair McLachlan, Solicitor, Glasgow
- Mr Stephen Brand, Solicitor, Dundee
- Mrs Maureen McLean, Sheriff Clerk, Hamilton
- Mrs Frances MacPherson, Sheriff Clerk, Inverness
- Ms Rachel Smith, In Court Advisor, Aberdeen
- Mr Alan McIntosh, Lay Member, Glasgow
Appointed by the Minister for Justice
- Mr Stephen McCourt, Secretary
- Mrs Linda McCabe, Assistant Secretary
The Sheriff Court Rules Council consults widely on any major proposed changes in the civil procedure in the Sheriff Court. Consultation papers are distributed to interested parties, inviting responses within a specified period. A list of consultees is maintained by the Secretary.
There are no current consultations
Consultation on Proposals for Procedural Rules in the Sheriff Court for the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011
Consultation on Proposals for Procedural Rules for Personal Injury Actions in the Sheriff Court
Consultation on The Sheriff Court and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Consultation on proposals for further extension of the use of information technology in civil cases in the sheriff court
Appointment of Members
Members of the Council are appointed by the Lord President.
Membership comprises of two sheriffs principal, three sheriffs, one advocate, five solicitors, two sheriff clerks and two lay members.
Lay members should have a knowledge of the working procedures and practices of the civil courts, a knowledge of consumer affairs and an awareness of the interests of litigants in the sheriff courts. The Lord President consults the Cabinet Secretary for Justice before appointing lay members.
The membership is completed by one person appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, who appears to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to be qualified for such appointment.
Period of Office
Members of the Council are appointed for three years and are eligible for re-appointment, unless they lose their qualification for appointment.
If a vacancy on the Council occurs before the end of the Council's term of office, it will be filled by either the Lord President or the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, as appropriate, nominating a replacement who will hold office for the remainder of the Council's term of office.
One of the two sheriff principal members of the Council is appointed by the Lord President to be Chairman.
The Secretary to the Council is appointed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.
The Council should meet at intervals of not more than six months. A meeting may be requisitioned by the Chairman of the Council or any three members of the Council.
Six members shall be a quorum at any meeting of the Council.
Function of the Council
The function of the Council is to review the procedure and practice in civil proceedings in the Sheriff Court. In the light of that review, the Council prepares draft rules and submits them to the Court of Session for approval.
The rules submitted to the Court of Session are designed to regulate and prescribe procedure and practice. The Council should ensure that the Court of Session has the power to make such rules.
The review of procedure and practice is an ongoing process. The Council prepares and submits to the Court of Session, draft rules designed to deal with any matters relating to the Sheriff Court.
The Court of Session, having made any modifications it thinks expedient, makes an Act of Sederunt embodying the rules.
To assist it in the discharge of its functions, the Council may invite representations on any aspect of the procedure or practice in civil proceedings in the Sheriff Court.
The Council considers any representations received. These can be in response to an invitation (e.g. in a consultation paper) or in another manner (e.g. by correspondence or having been raised by a member of the Council).
Power of Court of Session to Regulate Civil Procedure in the Sheriff Court
This power is defined in Section 32 of the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971.
The Court of Session, by Act of Sederunt, regulates and prescribes the procedure and practice to be followed in any civil proceedings in the Sheriff Court.
Before making an Act of Sederunt, the Court of Session consults the Council and takes into consideration their views, unless the Act of Sederunt embodies draft rules submitted to the Court of Session by the Council.