The Scottish Government's legislative programme for 2013-2014 has been announced by Alex Salmond MSP, First Minister of Scotland.
Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill
The Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill was introduced into the Scottish Parliament on 6 February 2014. The Bill seeks to increase the limit of the value of a claim in the sheriff court from £5,000 to £150,000, effectively meaning the end of the Court of Session as a court of first instance for personal injury cases.
APIL welcomes many of the proposals in principle, but has argued that a limit of £30,000, instead of £150,000, would deliver substantial change to the court system without effectively barring the Court of Session to most injured people.
Ronnie Conway, APIL co-ordinator in Scotland, has appeared before both the justice and finance committees of the Scottish Parliament, and told members of the justice committee that a lack of resources for the proposals would cause a ‘train wreck’.
The justice committee was told that the reforms appear to be seriously under-funded, there are to be no new sheriffs to take on the additional cases from the Court of Session, and that in effect, the proposals were simply “moving pieces on a chess board”.
Footage of Ronnie Conway’s evidence to the committees is available to view below. Transcript of the evidence to the justice committee can be read here, and transcript of the evidence to the finance committee can be read here.