Aberdeen Civil Justice Centre and Commercial Court Opening

Jul 29, 2014
The Aberdeen Civil Justice Centre and Commercial Court was officially opened today (Tuesday 29 July) in a ceremony attended by Scotland’s most senior judge, the Lord President and the Cabinet Secretary of Justice Kenny MacAskill MSP.

The Scottish Court Service (SCS) has created a modern, specialist civil centre and commercial court in a building previously occupied by the Justice of the Peace Court.  

Opening the new centre, Lord Gill, Lord President and Chairman of the Scottish Court Service Board said:

This new centre forms part of the implementation of the wide-ranging reforms introduced by the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill.  Aberdeen was an important antecedent to the recommendations of the review of civil courts.  It provided the review team with evidence of the success of judicial case management, specialised sheriffs and importantly, the views of the court users and their experience of the system.  This new centre epitomises the underlying principles of that Bill.  It will increase the rate at which cases can be heard.  Its technical facilities shall reduce witness waiting times, allowing litigants and witnesses to participate by video or telephone conference.  Overall it should reduce unnecessary delay and expense to parties which have blighted our court system for so long.

Grampian Highland and Islands Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle said that the Aberdeen Civil Justice Centre and Commercial Court presented a new vision for the development of commercial litigation in the energy capital of Europe. He added: “This will encourage indigenous oil and gas concerns to settle their disputes in Aberdeen which has much of the UK's commercial litigation involving multi-nationals. The centre will provide a speedy specialist forum for disputes to be resolved.” 

The building has three newly constructed courts where civil business in Aberdeen will be heard five days a week. Video conferencing facilities can be used to hear evidence from anywhere in the world, and to facilitate vulnerable witnesses giving evidence outside a courtroom. There will also be an opportunity for Fatal Accident Enquiries (FAI) to be held in the new centre.

SCS Chief Executive Eric McQueen said: “The new Civil Justice Centre and Commercial Court provides a separation of criminal and civil proceedings in Aberdeen. It provides a greatly improved court environment where  children’s and civil hearings can take place in an appropriate, less formal, setting.  Having a stand-alone criminal justice centre across the way also enables us to programme that business in the best way.  The Scottish Court Service’s vision is to have court structures in place that are cost effective, proportionate, accessible and efficient. Cases and appeals will be heard by the right court in both civil and criminal cases. To achieve this we are targeting specific investment to create a modern court structure throughout Scotland.  Our Corporate Plan for 2014-17 sets out our plans for the next three years to transform our services and put digital innovation at their heart.”

Please contact 0131 444 3310 or for photographs.


Proposals to create a modern court structure were contained in the report Shaping Scotland’s Court Services published in 2013 following public consultation.

Scottish Court Service Corporate Plan 2014-17

Scottish Government - Making Justice Work

Aberdeen Civil Justice Centre Opening

Left to Right : Cabinet Secretary Kenny MacAskill, MSP; Lord President, Lord Gill; Sheriff Principal Pyle and Eric McQueen, Chief Executive, SCS

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