Court of Session Act 1988

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1988 c. 36


Court of Session Act 1988

1988 CHAPTER 36

An Act to consolidate, with amendments to give effect to recommendations of the Scottish Law Commission, certain enactments relating to the constitution, administration and procedure of the Court of Session and procedure on appeal therefrom to the House of Lords; and to repeal, in accordance with recommendations of the Scottish Law Commission, certain enactments relating to the aforesaid matters which are no longer of practical utility.

[29th July 1988]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Constitution and Administration of the Court

Part I

Constitution and Administration of the Court

S-1 Number of judges of Court.

1 Number of judges of Court.

(1) Subject to subsections (2), (3) and (4) below, the maximum number of judges of the Court of Session (hereinafter in this Act referred to as ‘the Court’) shall be 24.

(2) Her Majesty may by Order in Council from time to time amend subsection (1) above so as to increase or further increase the maximum number of persons who may be appointed as judges of the Court.

(3) No recommendation shall be made to Her Majesty in Council to make an Order under this section unless a draft of the Order has been laid before Parliament and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.

(4) No vacancy arising among the judges of the Court shall be filled unless the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Treasury, is satisfied that the state of business in the Court requires that the vacancy should be filled.

(5) There shall be paid out of the Consolidated Fund any increase attributable to the provisions of this section in the sums which, under any other enactment, are payable out of that Fund.

S-2 Composition of Court.

2 Composition of Court.

(1) The Court shall be composed of an Inner House and an Outer House constituted in accordance with the following provisions of this section.

(2) Subject to subsection (3) below, the Inner House shall be composed of two Divisions, namely, the First Division comprising the Lord President and three senior judges of the Court, and the Second Division comprising the Lord Justice Clerk and three other senior judges of the Court.

(3) The Lord President may from time to time direct any three judges of the Court to sit as an extra Division of the Inner House for the purpose of hearing and disposing of causes pending before the Inner House, and the senior judge present shall preside and shall sign any judgment or interlocutor pronounced by the extra Division; and any reference in this Act or in any other enactment to a Division of the Inner House shall be construed as including a reference to such an extra Division.

(4) The quorum for a Division of the Inner House shall be three judges.

(5) The Outer House shall be composed of the judges of the Court (other than the judges of the Inner House while they are sitting in the Inner House) sitting singly, and any reference in this Act or in any other enactment to a Lord Ordinary shall be construed as a reference to a judge sitting singly in the Outer House.

(6) Subject to subsection (7) below, a vacancy arising in a Division of the Inner House shall be filled by the appointment of the senior Lord Ordinary.

(7) Subsection (6) above shall not apply in the case of such a vacancy arising by reason of the death or resignation of the Lord President or the Lord Justice Clerk.

S-3 Exchequer causes.

3 Exchequer causes.

3. One of the judges of the Court who usually sits as a Lord Ordinary shall be appointed by the Court by act of sederunt to act as Lord Ordinary in exchequer causes, and no other judge shall so act unless and until such judge is appointed in his place:

Provided that, in the event of the absence or inability of the Lord Ordinary in exchequer causes for whatever reason, any of his duties may be performed by any other Lord Ordinary acting in his place.

S-4 Power of judges to act in cases relating to rates and taxes.

4 Power of judges to act in cases relating to rates and taxes.

(1) A judge of the Court shall not be incapable of acting as such in any proceedings by reason of being, as one of a class of ratepayers, taxpayers or persons of any other description, liable in common with others to pay, or contribute to, or benefit from, any rate or tax which may be increased, reduced or in any way affected by those proceedings.

(2) In this section ‘rate or tax’ means any rate, tax, duty or assessment, whether public, general or local, and includes—

(a) any fund formed from the proceeds of any such rate, tax, duty or assessment; and

(b) any fund applicable for purposes the same as, or similar to, those for which the proceeds of any such rate, tax, duty or assessment are or might be applied.

II General Powers of the Court in Relation to Procedure

Part II

General Powers of the Court in Relation to Procedure

S-5 Power to regulate procedure etc. by act of sederunt.

5 Power to regulate procedure etc. by act of sederunt.

5. The Court shall have power by act of sederunt—

(a)to regulate and prescribe the procedure and practice to be followed in various categories of causes in the Court or in execution or diligence following on such causes, whether originating in the said Court or brought there by way of appeal, removal, remit, stated case, or other like process, and any matters incidental or relating to any such procedure or practice including (but without prejudice to the foregoing generality) the manner in which, the time within which, and the conditions on which any interlocutor of a Lord Ordinary may be submitted to the review of the Inner House, or any application to the Court, or any thing required or authorised to be done in relation to any such causes as aforesaid shall or may be made or done;

(b) to prescribe the form of any summons, defence, petition, answer, writ, pleading, extract of a decree or other document whatsoever to be used in, or for the purposes of, any such causes as aforesaid, or in, or for the purposes of, execution or diligence following on such causes and the manner in which, and the person by whom, any such summons, petition, writ, pleading, extract of a decree or document shall be signed or authenticated;

(c) to prescribe the manner in which, the time within which, and the conditions on which any verdict of a jury may be submitted to the review of the Inner House on any ground set out in section 29 of this Act;

(d) to regulate the production and recovery of documents;

(e) to provide in any category of causes before the Court, for the admission in lieu of parole evidence of written statements (including affidavits) and reports, on such conditions as may be prescribed;

(f) to provide for the payment into Court and the investment or application of sums of money awarded in any action of damages in the Court to a pupil or a minor;

(g)to regulate the fees of solicitors practising before the Court (other than such fees as the Secretary of State may regulate under or by virtue of section 33 of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986);

(h) to regulate the expenses which may be awarded to parties in causes before the Court;

(i) to regulate the summoning, remuneration, and duties of assessors;

(j) to fix the ordinary sessions of the Court and to regulate the days on which and times at which the Court shall sit;

(k) to prescribe the matters with which the vacation judge may deal;

(l) to make such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act or of any Act conferring powers or imposing duties on the Court or relating to proceedings therein; and

(m) to modify, amend or repeal any provision of any enactment including this Act relating to matters with respect to which an act of sederunt may be made under this Act.

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