STUC seriously concerned that Scottish Civil Courts Review will undermine access to justice – the person in the street will be the loser

September 30th 2009

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) today voiced its concern at the Report of the Civil Courts in Scotland.

General Secretary Grahame Smith said:

“These proposals amount to a major upheaval of the civil justice system. In aiming to fix a range of things within the system which are not broken, the review seems likely to involve additional and unnecessary costs, the brunt of which we can only assume will be borne by those seeking justice in the first place. STUC is completely unconvinced that the designating of sheriff specialists and the involvement of judges in case management will amount to anything more than extra costs for no benefit.

“The review claims to have undertaken in depth consultation, but trade unions, which are major stakeholders in the civil justice system, were barely heard and have certainly not been heeded. By effectively removing personal injury cases from the Court of Session (a position for which insurance firms have long lobbied) Lord Gill ignores the fact that workplace injury cases, even those of relatively low financial value can have a far wider impact in terms of influencing wider workplace safety. There is a proper, proactive role for civil justice in influencing behaviour which goes well beyond the monetary, and protects our most essential human right, the right to life.

“This review cannot be separated from the wider context of rising court fees and the trend towards a “pay as you go” judicial system. Any proposals to fund this review through increasing fees paid by users will be strongly resisted”

ENDS

For further information contact

Dave Moxham or Kevin Buchanan 0141 337 8100

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