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Tayside Commercial Court to sit from April

21 February 2017

A commercial court is to operate in sheriff courts in Tayside from April this year.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis at Perth, Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC in Dundee and Sheriff Gregor Murray at Forfar will be nominated as commercial sheriffs with effect from 3 April 2017, operating the more flexible civil procedure designed to deal with commercial disputes.

For administrative purposes, all new commercial actions may be commenced in Perth Sheriff Court, and further documents lodged and processed there, but defended actions will be distributed round the three courts on a rotational basis rather than by geography.

Once a case has been passed to one of the commercial sheriffs, it will remain with the same sheriff until concluded.

Chapter 40 of the Ordinary Cause Rules provides that a commercial action may be raised only in a sheriff court where the Sheriff Principal for the Sheriffdom has directed that the procedure should be available.

Sheriff Principal Marysia Lewis, Sheriff Principal of Tayside, Central & Fife, commented: “I have carried out a review of the quality, quantity and outcomes of ordinary civil work across the Tayside courts with a primary objective – to maintain a high standard of judicial decision-making efficiently delivered after taking into account the resources available to achieve it.

“The flexibility of the commercial cause rules affords to the parties the opportunity of a speedier, more creative, effectual and even cost-effective means of resolving commercial disputes.

“I am fortunate to have in the sheriffdom a number of sheriffs who have a background in commercial litigation, and some of those sheriffs are based in Tayside. Their talent, experience and knowledge of the commercial world is not being fully and appropriately utilised.

“The creation of a commercial court serving Dundee, Forfar and Perth and run by sheriffs with appropriate skills would significantly improve the efficient disposal of business in each of these courts which falls within the definition of a commercial action.”

Sheriffs Foulis, Drummond and Murray are holding a seminar at 6pm on Wednesday 22 February 2017 in court 1 at Dundee Sheriff Court, where local agents will be provided with further information about the new court structure, administration and court programme.

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