For many years, Scotland has benefitted from the availability of specialist Commercial Courts for business disputes. Such disputes can be wide-ranging - from B2B debt-recovery to issues regarding supplier contracts, a raft of issues affecting business and commerce can be heard in the Commercial Courts in Scotland. The commercial procedure includes active case management of disputes by specialist judges and has the aim of resolving matters swiftly.
Where is commercial procedure available?
The Court of Session Commercial Court, situated in Edinburgh, is used by businesses both at home and abroad, with four specialist commercial judges currently available to hear disputes. Similarly, successful Commercial Courts have been established at Sheriff Court level, including in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
A new court dedicated to dealing with commercial disputes is to be established in Tayside. It will sit in Dundee, Forfar and Perth Sheriff Courts. Sheriff Lindsay Foulis (Perth), Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC (Dundee) and Sheriff Gregor Murray (Forfar) are to be nominated as Commercial Sheriffs with effect from 3 April 2017.
How will the new court work?
Actions raised in the Tayside Commercial Court will be commenced in Perth Sheriff Court, and documents will be lodged and processed there. Cases will be distributed for hearings on a rotational basis, across Perth, Dundee and Forfar Sheriff Courts.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of commercial procedure include its active case management ethos and swift procedural timetable, facilitating quicker results. With a specialist Commercial Sheriff allocated to each dispute from the outset, the Commercial Sheriff retains ownership of the dispute, allowing for better consistency and case-management for parties throughout the life-cycle of the dispute.
With the Court of Session now dealing only with disputes where the sum sought is £100,000 or more, many new business disputes will now find their home in the Sheriff Court. The new court in Tayside allows for greater availability of commercial procedure for businesses and organisations with interests in Scotland and is therefore to be welcomed.
If you would like to discuss the resolution of a business dispute in Scotland further, please contact one of our team.
Gordon Tsang is a contributing author.