Civil justice statistics in Scotland: 2011-2012

Civil Law Statistics in Scotland 2011-12 provides

information about cases which have gone through the civil courts in Scotland.

together with some wider, contextual information about the extent of civil

problems in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection

3. Main Points

3.1 This section presents the key findings from each of the chapters included in the bulletin. Further information about each area and wider contextual information is included within each subject-specific chapter.

General Trends

3.2 There were 85,256 civil cases initiated across both the Court of Session and the sheriff courts in 2011-12 (not including summary applications), a drop of 13 per cent on 2010-11 and 35 per cent on 2008-09. [Table 1] [Table 2].

3.3 There is a large variation in the number of civil cases dealt with by the individual sheriff courts, with Glasgow having over 16,000 cases initiated in 2011-12 compared to the smallest courts which handled fewer than 100 civil cases. [Figure 7].

3.4 Sheriff court cases made up almost three quarters (72 per cent) of all gross civil legal aid costs in 2010-11. [Table 6].


3.5 Very few family cases are raised in the Court of Session (one per cent of all family cases). [Table 9].

3.6 The majority of family cases raised in the civil courts related to divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership (78 per cent). [Table 7].

3.7 The total number of divorces and dissolutions of civil partnerships granted during 2011-12 was 9,503, a decrease of two per cent compared to 2010-11. [Table 11] [Table 12].

3.8 The number of cases relating to parental responsibilities and rights decreased by 16 per cent during 2011-12 to 2,272. [Table 7].


3.09 The number of debt cases initiated in the sheriff courts decreasedby11 per cent during 2011-12 to 40,242. This is a decrease of 39 per cent since 2008-09. [Table 13].

3.10 Most of the debt cases initiated (72 per cent) were raised using the small claims procedure. [Table 13].

3.11 The vast majority of debt cases were undefended (91 per cent). [Table 14].

Personal Injury

3.12 Overall, 7,792 personal injury cases were initiated in the civil courts during 2011-12, a decrease of 15 per cent compared to 2010-11. [Table 16].

3.13 The majority of these related to road traffic accidents (59 per cent) and a further fifth related to accidents at work (22 per cent). [Table 16].

3.14 Personal injury cases accounted for 76 per cent of business in the General Department of the Court of Session. [Table 1] [Table 17].


3.15 The number of damages cases initiated in the civil courts during 2011-12 decreased by 11 per cent to 3,684. This is a decrease of 20 per cent since 2008-09. [Table 20].

3.16 The majority of damages cases (64 per cent) were initiated under small claims procedure. [Table 20].

3.17 A decree of absolvitor was the most common disposal type across all procedural types, apart from small claims procedure. [Table 21].


Email: Howard Hooper

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