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Scottish Civil Justice Conference considers post-Covid court system

  • 28 June 2021 28 June 2021
  • UK & Europe

  • Insurance & Reinsurance

The managing partner of Clyde & Co in Scotland, Vikki Melville, recently contributed to a Civil Justice Conference regarding the Court of Session and sheriff court civil business.

Scottish Civil Justice Conference considers post-Covid court system

A report providing a record of the speeches and discussions during this Conference has now been published and can be found here.

Prompted by the expected continued easing of lockdown measures, the Conference provided a forum for discussion with interested parties about the future management of civil court business, including in-person hearings.

Providing the keynote speech, the Lord President of the Court of Session, Lord Carloway, stated that “that in certain situations, the use of technology, which has been adopted because of the urgency brought about by Covid, is so advantageous that it should be maintained as the default system”. However, the scope and extent of such use is extremely important.

Discussing the recent decision of Burnett or Grant, Vikki set out her own personal experiences of dealing with a claim which proceeded to the Supreme Court during the course of the pandemic. In addition, she highlighted concerns that many in the industry share regarding the next generation of legal practitioners. With an increase expected regardless in remote working and hearings, there are questions to be raised about the need for engagement by junior staff with more senior colleagues and third parties such as counsel and judges.

Offering the closing remarks, Lady Dorrian, the Lord Justice Clerk agreed that individuals “will suffer from the loss of personal interactions with colleagues, staff and counsel” and “daily interaction with colleagues, and others, is something which brings value in intangible ways”. However, what is apparent is that there an acceptance amongst the legal community that some measure of hybrid working will remain. Remote hearings do carry a significant value in many instances, and with the passage of time, a consistency of approach will become apparent with remote hearings being used where appropriate.

We will continue to provide updates as and when discussions are had on the future of the Court system in Scotland.


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