Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Consumers urged to give their views as Civil Justice Advisory Group launches consultation on key proposals of Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review

Consumer Focus Scotland logoConsumer Focus Scotland launches consultation on Civil Justice reforms. CONSUMER FOCUS SCOTLAND’s Civil Justice Advisory Group, chaired by the Right Honourable Lord Coulsfield, have launched a consultation to debate some of the key proposals of Lord Gill’s Scottish Civil Courts Review report and determine the best way forward for implementing the many recommendations made by Lord Gill in his damning two year study & report on the state of Scotland’s “Victorian” civil justice system, a justice system which is famed worldwide for crippling Scots access to justice.

The Civil Justice Advisory Group (CJAG), which was re-convened in January 2010, is seeking views on practical solutions to ensure that people with legal problems have real and effective access to appropriate, affordable and fair dispute resolution processes, particularly for claims of low financial value, housing cases, family cases and children’s hearing referrals. It will focus principally on the recommendations of the review relating to pre-court measures, including improving access to justice for party litigants, the proposed ‘third -tier’ of judicial office, and the proposed new simplified procedure.

To support the consultation process, the CJAG will also host a free consultation seminar on Monday 13th September at the Roxburghe Hotel in Edinburgh. The event will be interactive, with roundtable discussions and feedback sessions. Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Dean of Laws and Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at University College London will be the keynote speaker. If you have an interest in reforming Scotland's justice system, be there.

The seminar programme can be accessed by clicking here. Places can be reserved by using the online registration form or sending the booking form to the address listed below.

The consultation and seminar feedback will help the Group in formulating a detailed report to the Scottish Government on how it should take forward some of the recommendations of the Scottish civil courts review report.

The consultation paper can be accessed by clicking here : Civil Justice Consultation Response Paper (pdf)

Responses to the consultation should be submitted to Consumer Focus Scotland before 24th September 2010 by email to : civil.justice@consumerfocus.org.uk or via the online response form

By post to :
Civil Justice Advisory Group Consultation
Consumer Focus Scotland
Royal Exchange House
100 Queen Street
Glasgow
G1 3DN

I would urge as many readers as possible to take part in this consultation, for the benefit of yourself and all Scots who need access to a fairer, much improved Civil Justice system in our own land. Access to justice for one, access to justice for all !

Commenting on the consultation, the Right Honourable Lord Coulsfield, Chair of the Civil Justice Advisory Group, said: “I was very pleased to be invited to Chair the re-convened Group earlier this year. It is important that the recommendations of the civil courts review be fully debated and understood before they are put into effect.”

He continued : “I would strongly urge anyone who has any relevant experience, good or bad, of the operation of the court system or other means of resolving disputes, or any comment, criticism or suggestion to contribute to this important debate by responding to this consultation paper. The greater the level of participation, the better placed the Group will be to make a strong and useful contribution to the debate over the Gill proposals and the decisions as to how they are to be carried out.”

Sarah O’Neill, Head of Policy and Solicitor at Consumer Focus Scotland, which provides policy and secretariat support for the CJAG, added: “The Scottish civil courts review set out a bold range of challenging but pragmatic recommendations, presenting a vision of a civil justice system fit for the 21st century. We are keen to encourage debate on the proposals and how they can best be implemented for the benefit of those individuals who find themselves having to use the civil justice system, whether they are pursuing a claim against someone else, or defending a case brought against them.

Ms Neill continued : “The outcome of the Civil Justice Advisory Group’s work will be influential in taking this agenda forward. The consultation, and accompanying seminar, provide opportunities for everyone with an interest in achieving a more user-focused and accessible civil justice system to contribute their views and help shape the Group’s report to the Scottish Government. We hope that all of those with an interest in these issues will take the opportunity to get involved in this debate.”

Readers can view my earlier report on Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review here : Scots Law 'shake up' as Lord Gill’s Civil Courts Review supports McKenzie Friends, Class Actions & wider access to justice for all

Readers can download the Civil Courts Review report in pdf format, from the Scottish Courts Website at the following links :

Civil Courts Review

The Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review was launched today Wednesday, 30 September 2009 and is available to download below:

Background to the Civil Justice Advisory Group :

In 2004, the Scottish Consumer Council, one of Consumer Focus Scotland’s predecessor bodies, established the Civil Justice Advisory Group, supported by the then Scottish Executive and funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The Group, chaired by the Right Honourable Lord Coulsfield, held six seminars between September 2004 and April 2005, structured to mirror a user’s journey through the civil justice system, from seeking advice on their dispute, through the dispute resolution process, to the enforcement stage. The Group published its final report, The Civil Justice System in Scotland – a case for review? (available as a PDF by clicking here) in November 2005. The Group recommended that there should be a review of several important aspects of the civil justice system in Scotland, the majority of which were then taken forward by the civil courts review.

Following the publication of Lord Gill’s civil courts review report, Consumer Focus Scotland has reconvened the Civil Justice Advisory Group, under the continued chairmanship of the Right Honourable Lord Coulsfield. The CJAG’s membership includes representatives from the Law Society of Scotland, Faculty of Advocates, Citizens’ Advice Scotland, Scottish Legal Aid Board, Scottish Association of Law Centres, Scottish Mediation Network, Scottish Committee of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council and the Scottish Government, as well as Professor Alan Paterson from the University of Strathclyde.

Given its instrumental role leading up to the civil courts review, the Group felt it was very well placed to react to the review’s proposals, and also to make its own recommendations about future courses of action. The Group’s deliberations will focus principally on those aspects of the review of most direct relevance for consumers, namely those recommendations relating to pre-court measures, including improving access to justice for party litigants, the proposed ‘third -tier’ of judicial office, and new simplified procedure.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pity there is no Seminar in Glasgow or other parts of the country - not all of us are able to travel.

But I shall write, you can be certain of that.

Anonymous said...

I see plenty Law Society & Faculty of Advocate people on this 'advisory group' so as you say we better all have a go at it or else it will be lawyers getting their own way for their own pay once more!

Anonymous said...

why haven't I never heard anything of this until now?

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 22:17

Thanks, and the more readers who complete the consultation response the better.

# Anonymous @ 23:17

Hopefully the newspapers will pick up the story ...

Anonymous said...

@23:17 Probably no one's heard of it because the lawyers on it dont want any normal people putting in their opinions ?

Anonymous said...

Can I input to the Civil Justice Advisory Group to challenge the injustice of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 which bestowed equal Parenting Rights and Responsibilities on all un married fathers who signed their childs birth certificate on or after the implementation date of the act on 4th May 2006 because it was of benefit to children but was not made retrospective. The then executive did not support making the amendment retrospective leaving thousands of decent fathers who had signed their childs birth certificate prior to May 2006 and their children margenalised and discriminated against for no good reasons. There were just under 200,000 joint birth registrations made by unmarried parents in the ten year period prior to May 2006 yet no consideration was given to the ages of the children who would be margenalised and would not benefit from the change in legislation. This was not a change in law regarding a speed limit or such this change had direct impact on children. Despite this no consideration was given to where a father had been a constant and devoted parent to his child. A line was simply drawn in the sand. The only option open to these fathers without the will of their childs mother is to apply to the courts and to somehow prove their worth as a parent. I and my family have had to watch helplessly in total disbelief and horror the injustice doled out to an innocent decent man and father (my son) simply trying to achieve via the Scottish legal system the right to remain being a parent to his child. Our life savings have been expended and he has yet to achieve Parental Rights. The attitude of the courts has been diablolical. One sherrif who had been involved in my sons case several times at yet another hearing stated that he was not familiar with the case. On another occasion, my son and his lawyer were shaken and taken aback when via his lawyer my son put forward a suggestion regarding his child and access. The sherrif without any provocation whatsoever threatened my son and his child with withdrawing a period of access! Are we in Scotland in 2010 and are we secretly under a Nazi regime? I and my family used to believe that the justice system was there to protect the innocent we do not think so now. I believe the justice system in Scotland is in place to protect itself and it is a ludicrous mafia type tight knit organisation where only the corrupt benefit. God help us all.

Anonymous said...

I've downloaded the consultation form and will send it in.Will let you know what comes back.

Anonymous said...

"The CJAG’s membership includes representatives from the Law Society of Scotland, Faculty of Advocates, Citizens’ Advice Scotland, Scottish Legal Aid Board, Scottish Association of Law Centres, Scottish Mediation Network, Scottish Committee of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council and the Scottish Government, as well as Professor Alan Paterson from the University of Strathclyde."

That being so I would hope as many of your regular readers fill in the consultation before the vested interests get their way again (as in nothing happening with the Gill review)

Good work Peter.You are providing a very valuable public service in getting these messages out to the rest of the country.

Peter Cherbi said...

# Anonymous @ 4 August 2010 10:52

Make sure you fill in the consultation form at the links provided, letting the Civil Advisory Justice Group know your feelings on this matter.

Rememebger everyone there is also the seminar on Monday 13th September at the Roxburghe Hotel in Edinburgh - you can arrange to attend if any places are left by contacting Consumer Focus Scotland using the links provided.

Anonymous said...

Good idea because its a year on and still nothing happening with Lord Gill's report.I hope Consumer Focus Scotland move things faster along instead of just making another year long talking shop.

Anonymous said...

What does Lord Gill think of the inaction on his report?
As far as I can see from your blog the only movement is on McKenzie Friends and that was probably down to you writing about it and the petition at the parliament.
Pretty awful effort from the Scottish Executive considering the detail of the Civil court review you posted in the links.

Anonymous said...

First Comment.Yes very unusual especially since Consumer Focus HQ is located in Glasgow.If they are serious about this consultation they should be held at more than one location.For instance I am in the North East and while the seminar is free the travel from Aberdeen to Edinburgh is not.
If Consumer Focus Scotland want to hear all our views they should go round the country!

Anonymous said...

Is Professor Paterson there in his capacity as a Professor or representing the SLCC ??
After reading what you've written about that mob and him I dont think he's much of a friend to consumers!

Anonymous said...

I and my family used to believe that the justice system was there to protect the innocent we do not think so now. (WE SHARE THIS VIEW). I believe the justice system in Scotland is in place to protect itself and it is a ludicrous mafia type tight knit organisation where only the corrupt benefit. God help us all. YES IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH JUSTICE, THESE STATE ACTORS OPINIONS ARE SACROSANCT. THEY POLICE THEMSELVES, LEGAL TOTALITARIANS.

Anonymous said...

WHY ARE THE PRESS GUTLESS WHEN THE TOPIC OF DEBATE IS ACCESS TO JUSTICE?

Anonymous said...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-10882656

Over the last decade, 26 prisoners including Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi have been released from Scottish prisons on compassionate grounds. The Scottish Government has published the details of their conditions, and how long they lived for after release.
===================================
Compassionate release Mr MacAskill, stop the appeal send him home to die, and those who distorted trial evidence from the Scottish judiciary are in the clear.

http://www.i-p-o.org/lockerbie-report.htm

http://www.i-p-o.org/koechler-lockerbie-appeal_report.htm

Compassion yes Mr MacAskill, but not for the victims families or Mr al-Megrahi.

Anonymous said...

Just another stitch-up consultation organised by lawyers.You can bet none of them will vote for any reform which takes away their earning power or stranglehold over our access to justice as you always write about.Put simply they are a shower of bastards and its about time someone got their own back on them.

Anonymous said...

Isnt it a bit rich to have the Law Society in a law reform seminar when all they do us oppose the reforms ?

Anonymous said...

All lawyers are criminals, protected by their own flock.

Anonymous said...

“It wasnae him” : Former Law Society of Scotland Chief Douglas Mill defended Sir Fred Goodwin, blamed lack of regulation rather than ‘World’s Worst Banker.’

Lack of regulation Douglas, reminds me of your conduct when in charge of the Law Society of Scotland, It wasnae oor lawyers, if that is true Douglas why did you resign?

Friendship and powerful self regulation, a dangerous mix indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hootsmon playing catchup to Mr Cherbi ?

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Gill-implementation-expert-group-launches.6501294.jp


http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/Robert-Fraser-Time-to-get.6501293.jp