The Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 will be implemented during 2015 through a phased introduction; with the first reforms expected to be put into place from July 2015.
These reforms will have an impact on debt recovery litigation in Scotland in the following ways:
One of the main changes the Act brings is to increase the powers of the Sheriff Courts (the Scottish equivalent to the County Courts in England and Wales) by significantly increasing the threshold amount for cases to be heard at the Sheriff Courts from £5,000 to £100,000. This means that ‘lower value’ claims will now be heard in the Sheriff Courts rather than in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
The new role of a Summary Sheriff is to be created and the process for the appointments of the first Summary Sheriffs is due to begin by July 2015.
A Summary Sheriff will share the jurisdiction and powers of a Sheriff but will hear only low value civil cases as well as summary criminal matters.
Simple Procedure will replace Small Claims and Summary Cause procedure in the Sheriff Courts and is expected to be introduced in early 2016 and will deal with court actions seeking payment of up to £5,000.
A Simple Procedure case will be conducted before a Sheriff or Summary Sheriff and while the specific rules that apply to such proceedings have yet to be drafted the intention of the Act is to simplify matters for cases of a lower value and reduce the costs involved in such actions.
The Act gives power to the Courts to introduce compulsory pre-action protocols to encourage the settlement of disputes and avoid the need to bring proceedings or to mitigate the length and complexity of proceedings
How De Vere Intellica can assist you with debt recovery matters in Scotland