Business in the All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court

May 15, 2020

Guidance published today outlines how the All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court (ASSPIC) will restart business during the current Coronavirus situation. With stringent government restrictions still in place, a return to business as usual is not feasible in the near future. However, by introducing digital working and processes, cases can now be progressed with many hearings held remotely.

The guidance will come into effect from 25 May.

In the first phase, the court will continue to process priority and urgent business. The main objective is to tackle the considerable backlog of business which has been lodged since the restrictions were imposed.  The court will also hear opposed motions and procedural hearings via teleconference where appropriate.  

During the second phase, the court will extend its operation by processing minutes for decree, initial writs, motions and other steps of procedure. Crucially, timetables will be issued to allow parties to progress litigation.

In putting this new guidance in place, Sheriff Principal Stephen said;

 “Guidance issued today sets out how ASSPIC – the National PI Court – can resume processing business and exercising its key functions. This is a phased programme, which relies on staff and sheriffs working remotely to progress the work of the court. This guidance and new systems of working reflect effective co-operation by court staff and Judiciary supported by SCTS.

“Current restrictions mean that proofs where evidence is required from witnesses in a court setting cannot take place. However, the court will determine contested motions and other procedural business by teleconference or, by agreement, on written submissions.

 “Despite the challenges we have faced, I am delighted that we are able to take steps to bring the court into the digital age, which for a national court of such significant is important. I am keenly assessing the use of virtual courts in the Inner House and the plans for substantive hearings including proofs in the Outer House. It seems to me that the next step will be in the introduction of virtual courts in ASSPIC. 

“These are challenging times not only for the court system but also for practitioners, and I am grateful to them for their support and understanding as we have developed digital solutions. Of course, while this cannot be business as usual, if everyone acts responsibly we can make sure that the court can deal with a sensible volume of cases as we continually review our processes and increase the amount of business undertaken in the court.”  

The full guidance can be found here.




Right-hand Menu