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Royal Assent for Courts Reform Act

A new law that has been described as bringing about the biggest modernisation of Scotland’s courts in a generation has been given Royal Assent.

The Courts Reform Act includes recommendations made by Lord Gill as part of the Scottish Civil Courts Review to improve the structure and operation of the courts, which were described as “slow, inefficient and expensive.”

The powers passed will ensure that the right cases are heard in the right courts at the right cost, and will change the procedures and processes in our courts, for example by:

  • Raising the exclusive competence of the sheriff court to £100,000
  • Introducing summary sheriffs to deal with some types of criminal and civil cases in the sheriff courts
  • Establishing a Sheriff Appeal Court
  • Establishing a national specialist personal injury court

“Our courts have remained relatively unchanged for decades but this new legislation will bring about the most important change for Scottish courts for more than a generation,” commented Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill.

“This is a hugely important step forward in making Scotland’s civil justice system more accessible, affordable and efficient for those people who need to resolve civil disputes,” he said.

“I am confident that the reformed courts structure, including the new national specialist personal injury court, will ensure that cases can be raised and dealt with quickly and effectively and there is easier and more affordable access to justice,” he concluded.

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