Recent statistics from Scotland’s Chief Statistician have revealed that the number of civil law cases initiated in Scottish courts has fallen to its lowest since current statistics began in 2008-09.
There were a total of 76,800 civil law cases raised in the financial year 2014-15, a drop of 42% since 2008-09. However, the number of cases raised has apparently seen little change since 2012-13, suggesting the downward trend may have come to an end.
Looking at the statistics in more detail, they show that there were 33,800 debt cases raised in 2014-15, 49% lower than 2008-09. The report highlights that there are multiple routes for resolving disputes over debt and it is possible that non-court options are becoming increasingly favoured.
Despite the decline in debt cases they still make up nearly half of civil law cases in sheriff courts, followed by eviction cases, family disputes and personal injury claims.
Divorces continued their downward trend as a 6% reduction on the previous year resulted in 9,000 divorces in 2014-15. Dissolutions of civil partnerships rose to 81 cases from 61 cases the year before.
The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey shows that around one in five adults experienced at least one civil law problem in the last three years. The most common type of issue was disputes with neighbours, followed by problems with faulty goods and services, and then money and debt.
Tayside, Central and Fife sheriffdom heard the most sheriff court cases – 13,800 cases in 2014-15, a rise of 2%. Meanwhile, the Glasgow and Strathkelvin sheriffdom saw a drop of 14% to 11,500 cases.
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