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Official Opening of Aberdeen’s New Court

Last week saw the official opening of Aberdeen’s Civil Justice Centre and Commercial Court, in a ceremony that was attended by Scotland’s most senior judge, the Lord President and the Cabinet Secretary of Justice Kenny MacAskill MSP. The new court is located in the building previously occupied by the Justice of the Peace Court.

According to Lord Gill, Lord President and Chairman of the Scottish Court Service Board, the new centre forms part of the implementation of the wide-ranging reforms introduced by the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Aberdeen was apparently an important antecedent to the recommendations of the review of civil courts, as it provided the review team with evidence of the success of judicial case management, specialised sheriffs and importantly, the views of the court users and their experience of the system.

The new centre epitomises the underlying principles of the Bill, said Lord Gill. It will increase the rate at which cases can be heard, and its technical facilities should reduce witness waiting times, allowing litigants and witnesses to participate by video or telephone conference.

The building has three newly constructed courts where civil business in Aberdeen will be heard five days a week. Video conferencing facilities can be used to hear evidence from anywhere in the world, and to facilitate vulnerable witnesses giving evidence outside a courtroom. There will also be an opportunity for Fatal Accident Enquiries to be held in the new centre.

Grampian Highland and Islands Sheriff Principal Derek Pyle said that the Aberdeen Civil Justice Centre and Commercial Court presented a new vision for the development of commercial litigation in the energy capital of Europe.

“This will encourage indigenous oil and gas concerns to settle their disputes in Aberdeen, which has much of the UK’s commercial litigation involving multi-nationals,” he added. “The centre will provide a speedy specialist forum for disputes to be resolved.”

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.

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