Thursday, 19 March 2015

Scottish Judicial more automatic right of appeal in civil cases to UKSC....

Never quite got my head around the Scottish Legal System, never had to.  But have noticed that the Scottish Parliament has passed an Act to reform it recently.  As far as I can tell (which may be not very far at all) there is to be a new Sheriff Appeal Court to sit between the first instance criminal and civil Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Courts and the Court of Session/High Court of Justiciary which will become a second tier of appeal in such cases.  One other major reform is to abolish the automatic right of appeal from the Court of Session to the UK Supreme Court in civil cases (you cant' appeal in criminal cases - the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh is your last stop bar Europe).  Currently if two Advocates sign a Notice of Appeal then the UK Supreme Court have to hear the case, no need for permission from the Court below or above; which is very much not how the Supreme Court works re the rest of the UK.  Section 117 Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 is going to put an end to that historical asymmetry:

Appeals to the Supreme Court (1) An appeal may be taken to the Supreme Court against a decision of the Inner House mentioned in subsection (2), but only— (a) with the permission of the Inner House, or (b) if the Inner House has refused permission, with the permission of the Supreme Court. 

Don't know whether this is an attempt by the SNP to keep more appeals in Scotland, but we'll see......

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