3. Important notes on the use of civil law statistics
The civil court statistics published by the Scottish Government relate only to the principal crave of cases. An individual case can involve a number of different case types. The case type which is listed first on the writ or summons is normally known as the principal crave and the others are described as ancillary craves. The feasibility of publication of statistics on ancillary craves is being investigated.
The large variety of case types and procedural outcomes that can be pursued in civil law mean that recording and reporting civil law court cases accurately and reliably is a challenge. One consequence is that the number of ordinary cause and summary application cases disposed of in the sheriff court is an underestimate. However, there is no evidence of any significant inaccuracies in the data for summary cause and small claim cases. More information about accuracy of the statistics and further guidance on use of the statistics is available from the Quality of the statistics section.
The statistics in the tables for initiations and disposals do not necessarily refer to the same cases. This is because not all the cases initiated in a year will be disposed in that same year.
Civil law statistics are used within the Scottish Government to inform decision and policy making and to monitor the impacts of policies which have been implemented. The statistics are also used in resource allocation by the Scottish Courts Service and to support third sector activity in lobbying and funding applications. The statistics also inform the public about the business of Scottish courts and facilitate academic research on civil law.
Email: Howard Hooper