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Civil Sheriff Appeal Court opens as part of major modernisation programme.
The opening of a new appeal court has marked the next step in the biggest modernisation of Scotland's courts in a century.
From this week, the new Sheriff Appeal Court will hear civil appeals from sheriff courts, as part of the government's reform of the system that will ensure the right cases are heard in the right courts.
Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse, said:
"This is the next step in our efforts to ensure the right cases are heard in the right places and therefore reduce unnecessary delays.
"We want to create a modern justice system that is fair, accessible and efficient and meets the needs of the people of Scotland. These reforms are a key part of our aims.
"The new Civil Sheriff Appeal Court will ensure that civil appeals are heard swiftly and efficiently at the appropriate level, reducing the number of such cases that require to be dealt with in the Court of Session."
This follows the opening of the Sheriff Appeal Court for criminal appeals and the Sheriff Personal Injury Court in September last year.
Other recent measures to improve the structure and operation of the courts include raising the threshold below which only the sheriff court can deal with civil cases to £100,000 and introducing changes to the procedures for Judicial Review and certain appeals to the UK Supreme Court.
The Civil Sheriff Appeal Court delivers the recommendation of the review of Scotland's civil courts that civil actions should be conducted in the appropriate court to ensure justice is delivered promptly and to prevent needless expense.
Procedural business, routine appeals and appeals from small claims and summary cases may be dealt with by a single appeal sheriff in the local sheriffdom, with any appeals that require a bench of three appeal sheriffs sitting in Edinburgh.
The Civil Sheriff Appeal Court will deal with civil appeals from sheriff courts including the Specialist Personal Injury Court in Edinburgh.
For more information on recent court reform measures: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Court-Reform-changes-take-effect-1d5b.aspx
Lord Gill's Report on the Scottish Civil Courts Review
Scottish Government response to the Scottish Civil Courts Review. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/11/09114610/1
Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 - http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2014/18/contents/enacted