Consultation on the Case Management of Family and Civil Partnership Actions in the Sheriff Court

May 30, 2018

The Council has launched a public consultation on the case management of family and civil partnership actions in the sheriff court. The consultation will run until 22 August 2018.

The Council’s Family Law Committee is considering ways to improve how family actions are dealt with in the sheriff court, particularly in order to prevent undue delay in proceedings relating to the welfare of children. 

Having commissioned research into the effectiveness of Chapter 33AA of the Ordinary Cause Rules 1993 and considered a policy paper on case management by the Scottish Government, the Committee established a sub-committee in May 2017 to consider changes to court rules.

The sub-committee made a number of recommendations, including:

  • a new case management structure for all family and civil partnership actions in the sheriff court, not just those with a crave for an order under section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995;
  • allocating actions to a “fast track” or “proof track” procedure, as appropriate;
  • greater judicial control over the sisting (i.e. ‘pausing’ or staying) of family and civil partnership actions;
  • the adoption of abbreviated pleadings and more detailed witness lists;
  • judicial continuity insofar as possible;
  • provision allowing all family and civil partnership actions to be referred to mediation; and
  • greater judicial control over the use of expert witnesses.


The Council welcomes your views on the recommendations.

At the end of the consultation period, non-confidential responses will be published on the Council’s website. After responses have been analysed and considered by the Council, a final report on the consultation will be published on the website.

If you would like to take part in the consultation you can access the consultation documents here.

If you require further information please email the Council secretariat at


Providing Feedback

The SCJC welcomes feedback on any aspect of court rules.

Please email your comments to the Secretariat.