Court of Session Sitting Dates – Changes for Legal year 2017/18

Sep 26, 2016

A new Direction, issued by the Lord President, sets out the sitting days for the Court of Session for the Legal Years 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20.    This Direction introduces a significant change, of which legal practitioners and others will wish to be aware.   

This Direction effectively abolishes the traditional three court terms of the Legal Year, and provides that the court is able to sit throughout the year, with effect from the beginning of the legal year 2017/18.  This would be subject to two fortnight vacation periods at Christmas and Easter.   Accordingly, the court would continue to be ‘in session’ throughout the legal year, subject to vacation periods. 

The winter term would not change.  It would continue to run from the beginning of the Legal Year in mid-late September until the Christmas vacation fortnight.  The four week period of recess between terms, at Easter, would become a court vacation and would be shortened to two weeks.   The summer recess would no longer exist.

To a great extent, this aligns the practice in the Court of Session generally with the existing practice in some courts – such as the criminal courts and the Commercial Division.   It will allow greater flexibility in programming the work of the courts over the Legal Year.   

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