Tue 22 Dec 2015

Civil cases in the Sheriff Appeal Court

The next part of court reform which civil practitioners are awaiting is for the Sheriff Appeal Court to take up its role in relation to civil appeals from the beginning of January 2016.  The rules setting out the procedures for these appeals have been published and include different options as to how the appeal may be dealt with.

The primary procedure set out in the rules is the standard appeal procedure (which is similar to the current Court of Session procedure under Chapter 40 of the Court of Session Rules).  Under this procedure we can expect the court to issue a timetable detailing various steps required in advance of a determinative hearing on matters which could be before a bench of three appeal sheriffs and is likely to take place in an allocated court within the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

There are also various special appeal proceedings set out under the rules.  These include provision for dealing with summary cause and small claims appeals, cases where a new jury trial or verdict is sought and appeal under part 15 of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2015 and the further accelerated appeal procedure. 

The accelerated appeal procedure is introduced to deal with simpler matters and there is a presumption that it will be appropriate procedure for appeals relating to the granting of a decree by default and refusal of reponing notes.  The question of whether an appeal will follow the standard or accelerated procedure will be determined at the start of the case by the procedural appeal sheriff who will also consider the importance and complexity of the appeal and the novelty of points of law raised by it as well as the presumption in cases involving a decree by default or refusal of a reponing note. 

The inclusion of both the standard appeal procedure and accelerated appeal procedure has the advantage for practitioners and clients of allowing the court to deal with less complex matters more quickly and cost effectively (and potentially locally) whilst allowing the further time necessary for more complicated matters. 

Please contact your usual Morton Fraser Litigation contact if you need assistance with a Sheriff Appeal Court appeal.


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