The information provided in this article is correct as at 19 May 2020.

In this quick guide, our commercial disputes team summarises the current status of the Scottish courts during the COVID-19 lockdown, which may be of interest to those involved in cross-border litigation matters involving the Scottish courts.

  • The Scottish Courts are not currently running a full service and have significantly scaled back the court business being progressed.
  • The Court of Session is continuing to sit but only dealing with urgent civil business. Inner House appeals and where required procedural hearings are being dealt with by WebEx video conference.
  • Ordinary and commercial business in the Outer House is currently being dealt with by way of telephone hearing or written submission but the Commercial Court is expected to move to video hearings.
  • All civil business requiring the attendance of witnesses is continued for the time being.
  • Sheriff Courts have consolidated their functions into 10 Sheriff Court Hubs. Each Hub has published a list of the work that is considered urgent which the Court will continue to deal with. This generally falls into the categories of child and adult welfare issues and other urgent business “on cause shown”.
  • The Register of Inhibitions remains closed which prevents creditors from renewing their inhibition (an inhibition prevents the alienation or burdening of heritable property).
  • The statutory provisions setting out the process for appointing a trustee in sequestration, administrator or liquidator currently remain unchanged.
  • The courts are permitting documentation to be submitted electronically and permitting the use of electronic signature. 
  • Service of court documents by Sheriff Officers is restricted to essential service of certain legal documents e.g. Child Protection Orders, Interim interdicts (i.e. injunctions) etc.

This article was co-authored by Senior Associate Serena Weir and Partner Elaine Brailsford of Shepherd and Wedderburn's commercial disputes team.

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