News In Focus
SCJC publishes 2016-17 annual report
The Scottish Civil Justice Council has published its Annual Report for 2016-17, outlining its achievements, accounts and a summary of the rules prepared during the year.
This year the report is combined with the SCJC's Annual Programme, detailing how it will deliver its priorities for 2017-18, bringing together into one document its ongoing work schedule as well as its recent activities.
During the past year, the SCJC has prepared 18 sets of draft rules. A number of these have covered more than one subject area. Significant developments have included rules arising from the implementation of the reforms to bankruptcy proceedings and from the new fatal accident inquiry procedure. It has also developed rules to introduce whole new procedures, including the new system of pursuers’ offers and a new personal injury pre-action protocol.
Work continues on the Simple Procedure Rules following the coming into force of the core rules, with amendments following feedback and further consultation taking place on the Special Claims Rules, which are still in preparation.
Case management work is being taken forward by the Family Law Committee in the context of family law actions in the first instance. During 2016-17, the committee commissioned research in relation to the operation of chapter 33AA of the Ordinary Cause Rules and this work will continue into 2017-18.
The first stage of work under the Rules Rewrite Project was completed during 2016-17. The SCJC has recently approved the Rules Rewrite Committee’s recommendations for external engagement along with proposals for commencement of stage 2, the preparation of procedural narratives. It is anticipated that the majority of this stage will be completed during 2017-18.
Three major initiatives will continue to have a direct impact on the SCJC's work during 2017-18:
- implementation of the Scottish Civil Courts Review recommendations, including the Rules Rewrite Project, compulsory pre-action protocols, enforcement and sanctions relating to the rules, judicial case management in family actions, and alternative dispute resolution;
- the recommendations of Sheriff Principal Taylor’s Review of Expenses and Funding in Civil Litigation in Scotland, which will be combined with work on rationalising the rules regarding taxation of expenses; and
- work generated by the Tribunals (Scotland Act) 2014, as reserved tribunals are transferred into the Scottish Tribunals structure.
The Lord President, Lord Carloway, who chairs the SCJC, commented: “During the past year, the Council has undertaken a substantial amount of work that will help to shape Scotland’s civil procedures well into the future. This includes the publication of a far reaching report which sets out the Council’s thinking on the overarching principles of civil justice. The Council is keen to engage with court users to ensure the success of such an important project and will be arranging visits across Scotland.
"None of this work could have been achieved without the tremendous commitment and professionalism of the Council members, for which I am grateful.”
Click here to view the report.