Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance Act 2013

JurisdictionScotland
Citation2013 asp 3


Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance Act 2013

2013 asp 3

The Bill for this Act of the Scottish Parliament was passed by the Parliament on 29th January 2013 and received Royal Assent on 5th March 2013

An Act of the Scottish Parliament to establish the Scottish Civil Justice Council; to make provision about contributions in respect of criminal legal assistance; and for connected purposes.

1 Scottish Civil Justice Council

PART 1

Scottish Civil Justice Council

Establishment

Establishment

S-1 Establishment of the Scottish Civil Justice Council

1 Establishment of the Scottish Civil Justice Council

There is to be a body to be known as the Scottish Civil Justice Council ("the Council").

Functions and powers

Functions and powers

S-2 Functions of the Council

2 Functions of the Council

(1) The functions of the Council are-

(a) to keep the civil justice system under review,

(b) to review the practice and procedure followed in proceedings in the Court of Session and in civil proceedings in the sheriff court,

(c) to prepare and submit to the Court of Session draft civil procedure rules,

(d) to provide advice and make recommendations to the Lord President on the development of, and changes to, the civil justice system, and

(e) to provide such advice on any matter relating to the civil justice system as may be requested by the Lord President.

(2) In carrying out its functions under this Act, the Council must have regard to-

(a) the principles in subsection (3), and

(b) any guidance issued by the Lord President.

(3) The principles are-

(a) the civil justice sy stem should be fair, accessible and efficient,

(b) rules relating to practice and procedure should be as clear and easy to understand as possible,

(c) practice and procedure should, where appropriate, be similar in all civil courts, and

(d) methods of resolving disputes which do not involve the courts should, where appropriate, be promoted.

(4) For the purposes of this Part, "draft civil procedure rules" are draft rules which relate to a matter in subsection (5).

(5) Those matters are-

(a) any matter relating to a court within the remit of the Council which the Court of Session may regulate by act of sederunt,

(b) any matter relating to a court within the remit of the Council in anticipation of the Court of Session being given power to regulate the matter by act of sederunt, or

(c) any matter relating to a proposed court in anticipation of-

(i) the court being established and added to the remit of the Council, and

(ii) the Court of Session being given power to regulate the matter by act of sederunt.

(6) The courts within the remit of the Council are-

(a) the Court of Session, and

(b) the sheriff court.

S-3 Powers of the Council

3 Powers of the Council

(1) The Council may take such action as it considers necessary or desirable in pursuance of its functions.

(2) In particular, the Council may-

(a) have regard to proposals for legislative reform which may affect the civil justice system,

(b) have regard to the criminal justice system and its effects on the civil justice system,

(c) consult such persons as it considers appropriate,

(d) co-operate with, and seek the assistance and advice of, such persons as it considers appropriate,

(e) make proposals for research into the civil justice system,

(f) provide advice and make recommendations to the Scottish Ministers on the development of, and changes to, the civil justice system, and

(g) publish any recommendation it makes.

S-4 Court of Session to consider rules

4 Court of Session to consider rules

(1) The Court of Session must consider any draft civil procedure rules submitted to it by the Council and may-

(a) approve the rules,

(b) approve the rules with such modifications as it considers appropriate, or

(c) reject the rules.

(2) Where the Court of Session approves draft civil procedure rules (with or without modification) it must embody the approved rules in an act of sederunt.

(3) Nothing in this Part affects the powers of the Court of Session to prepare or make rules which relate to a matter in section 2(5).

S-5 Annual programme and report

5 Annual programme and report

(1) The Council must prepare an annual plan setting out its objectives and priorities for each yearly period beginning on 1 April before the start of that period ("the programme").

(2) The Council must prepare an annual report on its activities as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of each yearly period ending on 31 March ("the report").

(3) The report must include a summary of the recommendations made (if any) by the Council during the period covered by the report.

(4) The Council must lay a copy of the programme and the report before the Scottish Parliament.

(5) In complyi ng with the duty in subsection (4), the Council may combine the programme for the coming year with the report for the ending year.

Membership

Membership

S-6 Composition of the Council

6 Composition of the Council

(1) The Council is to have not more than 20 members and is to be comprised of-

(a) the Lord President,

(b) the Chief Executive of the Scottish Court Service,

(c) the principal officer of the Scottish Legal Aid Board,

(d) 1 member appointed by the Scottish Ministers under subsection (2),

(e) at least 4 judges ("judicial members"), including a minimum of-

(i) 1 judge of the Court of Session, and

(ii) 1 sheriff principal or sheriff,

(f) at least 2 practising advocates ("advocate members"),

(g) at least 2 practising solicitors ("solicitor members"),

(h) at least 2 persons ("consumer representative members") who, between them, appear to the Lord President to have-

(i) experience and knowledge of consumer affairs,

(ii) knowledge of the non-commercial legal advice sector, and

(iii) an awareness of the interests of litigants in the civil courts, and

(i) up to 6 other persons considered by the Lord President to be suitable to be members of the Council ("LP members").

(2) The Scottish Ministers must appoint as a member a person who is a member of staff of the Scottish Government and whom they consider to be suitable to be a member of the Council.

(3) The Scottish Minis ters may by order amend subsection (1) by substituting for the number of members (or the minimum number in a category of membership) for the time being specified there such other number as they think fit.

(4) Before making an order under subsection (3) the Scottish Ministers must consult the Lord President.

(5) The power to make an order under subsection (3) includes power to make such supplementary, incidental, consequential, transitional, transitory or saving provision as the Scottish Ministers consider appropriate.

(6) But such power does not include power to modify the description of a category of membership described in subsection (1) or to add a category of membership.

(7) Orders under subsection (3) are subject to the affirmative procedure.

S-7 Lord President appointment process

7 Lord President appointment process

(1) The Lord President must appoint persons to be members of the Council in respect of the categories of membership described in section 6(1)(e) to (i) and ensure that the number of members in each such category of membership is maintained at the required level.

(2) The Lord President must prepare and publish a statement of appointment practice setting out the process which the Lord President will follow for appointing-

(a) advocate members,

(b) solicitor members,

(c) consumer representative members, and

(d) LP members.

(3) In preparing the statement of appointment practice the Lord President must have regard to the principles in subsection (4).

(4) The principles are-

(a) appointments to the Council should be made fairly and openly, and

(b) so far as reasonably practicable, all eligible persons should be afforded an opportunity to be considered for appointment.

(5) The statement of appointment practice must include a requirement for the Lord President to consult-

(a) the Faculty of Advocates before appointing an advocate member,

(b) the Council of the Law Society of Scotland before appointing a solicitor member,

(c) the Scottish Ministers before appointing-

(i) a consumer representative member, or

(ii) a LP member.

S-8 Tenure

8 Tenure

(1) The Lord President, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Court Service and the principal officer of the Scottish Legal Aid Board are members of the Council by virtue of holding their respective offices.

(2) A member appointed by the Scottish Ministers holds office until such time as the Scottish Ministers...

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