Sheriff Court Civil Business

Apr 24, 2020

This week saw the successful launch of the virtual court for Inner House appeals and remote tele conference hearings in the Outer House. Along with Sheriffs Principal and the Law Society of Scotland, we have also been assessing what civil business in the sheriff courts, beyond the urgent and necessary categories, can be carried out remotely where earlier resolution would be beneficial.

We are mindful of the fact that we must continue to follow the Government’s stringent measures to slow the spread of the virus. Therefore, while a return to business as usual is not viable in the near future, we do believe that with the cooperation of the legal profession we can take some steps in ordinary and family actions and where applicable the commercial courts, adults with Incapacity applications and insolvency cases.

Where cases have been adjourned, sisted ex proprio motu, or where adults with incapacity or insolvency cases have been previously registered, we intend to allow such cases to be progressed where there is a justifiable reason for earlier resolution, where agents can provide all documents digitally and where a hearing requiring substantial evidence is not required.

Each application will be judicially assessed and where agreed these cases will proceed digitally, with tele conference hearing being used where necessary.

We will also restart commissary business through remote working.

Full guidance on the arrangements to extend business is being finalised and will be issued next week.

SCTS Chief Executive Eric McQueen said: “Again we are grateful to the judiciary, staff, the Law Society for Scotland and Faculty who have worked with us to identify how we can extend civil business in the sheriff courts, through remote and digital working. These are unprecedented times and we all need to be flexible and proportionate.

“Importantly, this is not a return to business as usual and we need everyone to act responsibility and proportionately in considering which cases they bring forward for consideration. This is a first step and if we can all sensibly manage volumes this will pave the way for what will likely be a lengthy return to whatever a new business as normal looks like, once government restrictions are eased and the exit strategy becomes clear.”



SCTS are participating in separate discussions, led by Scottish Government regarding processing of Criminal business.

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