Publication - Statistics publication

Civil Law Statistics in Scotland 2012-13

Published: 24 Mar 2014
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781784123703

Civil law is concerned with the rights and obligations of people and organisations. One way of resolving civil law disputes between people and organisations is for a case to be brought to court. In Scotland civil law cases are usually conducted in a sheriff court or the Court of Session. Common types of cases where civil law is used include debt, divorce and claims for personal injury.

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Contents
Civil Law Statistics in Scotland 2012-13
8. Historical time series of civil law court cases

8. Historical time series of civil law court cases

The volume of civil law court cases in Scotland has changed over the last thirty years (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Civil law court case volumes since 1979

Figure 3: Civil law court case volumes since 1979

The volume of summary cause cases reduced substantially in 1989 following the introduction of the small claims procedure. This procedure was designed to make the court process easier and less formal for people making low value claims, originally up to and including £750. As a consequence, considerably fewer people had to use summary cause procedure which, until then, had been the least formal procedure available in the sheriff courts.

The number of small claims cases briefly increased following the procedure's introduction but subsequently decreased until 2008, when the privative jurisdiction of various sheriff court procedures were increased. Small claims can now be made up to and including the value of £3,000 which has led to an increase in the number of cases initiated using this procedure. The number of cases initiated under ordinary cause procedure has been declining since reaching a peak of just over 60,000 in 2005. Changes to sheriff court jurisdiction limits in January 2008 lead to an increase in the number of small claims cases and a decrease in ordinary cause cases. The further decrease during 2011 seems to have been caused by the effects of the Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010.

The Court of Session handles a much lower volume of cases than the sheriff courts. In the early 1980s around 20,000 cases were initiated in the Court of Session but this has since dropped to between 4,000 and 6,000. Overall, the total number of civil law cases going through the courts has been decreasing since the early 1990s and fell below 100,000 for the first time in 2010.


Contact

Email: Howard Hooper