PLANS to overhaul the structure of civil courts could hit sheriff courts with a deluge of cases, according to the Law Society of?Scotland.
The society, which represents solicitors, said the changes could cause significant delays for those who use local courts.
The draft Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill,belstaff let bomber, sets out proposals to increase the threshold for cases to be heard by the Court of Session.
Currently the Court of Session can hear civil cases where the sum sued for is ?5,000 or above. The draft Bill proposes changing the requirements, so only cases valued at more than ?150,000 can be raised in the Court of Session.
Kim Leslie, convener of the Law Society of?Scotland’s Civil Justice Committee said: “If the proposals are implemented as currently drafted, a deluge of cases could hit?Scotland’s sheriff courts.
“There is a risk that sheriff courts will be unable to cope with the volume of new work suddenly arriving at their door. We expect this to be made worse by the recent Scottish Government decision to support the closure of 20 per cent of sheriff courts across,belstaff gangster blouson?Scotland.
“If sheriff courts are unable to cope with the increased workload,Belstaff Redford jacket black, there could be significant delays for court users.”
The Law Society of?Scotland’s Civil Justice Committee said its own research shows that only 2% of Court of Session business is settled with a value in excess of ?150,000.
Ms Leslie added: “If the proposals are implemented as currently drafted, we could end up in the paradoxical situation of an almost completely deserted Court of Session, whilst court users in the sheriff courts suffer long delays as the courts struggle to cope with an increased workload.
“The Scottish Government is right to raise the threshold; however, we would prefer to see the limit set at no more than ?50,000. This would allow cases with a lower value,Belstaff new Redford Jacket, but which still raise complex issues of matter of fact or law, to continue to be heard by the Court of Session.”
The Scottish Government has accepted recommendations from the Scottish Court Service to close 10 sheriff courts and seven justice of the peace courts across,belstaff maple jacket uk?Scotland.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government accepted the Scottish Court Service’s proposals to change the structure of our courts. Their proposals are now being scrutinised by Parliament.
“The volume of business carried out in the sheriff courts recommended for closure is around 5% of the total business, which SCS is confident can be dealt with within a smaller number of better equipped courts.
“We believe these changes are compatible with our wider justice reforms and SCS estimate they can save ?1 million a year in running costs and ?3 million in maintenance costs, money that can be better spent on improving services and facilities at a smaller number of courts.
“Unfortunately, the fragmented and outdated court system we inherited – where many smaller courts are not fit for purpose and are under-used – is no longer sustainable.”