Friday, July 31, 2009

Views and Experiences of Civil Sheriff Court Users

A small scale study commissioned by Consumer Focus Scotland and the Scottish Legal Aid Board shows court users can find themselves believing what’s to come is going to be far worse than it turns out to be. The research was limited by difficulties involved in identifying and accessing court users, with the researchers warning the eventual sample of litigants cannot be said to be typical of the population of unrepresented litigants currently pursuing cases through the courts.

The interviews undertaken by Ipsos MORI with litigants covered:

* Accessing civil justice
* Appearing in court
* Fairness of process
* Self-representation
* Information provision
* Court staff
* In-court advice services
* Cost of litigation
* Timescales

The study points to an urgent need for better information for the public, and wider access to support services in all courts. Whilst the scope of the research was limited it highlights where knowledge gaps exist and where there are
possibilities for further research. None of those interviewed had experienced ordinary cause procedure, and considering that these cases are likely to be more complicated, with no standard forms available to help unrepresented litigants, there is good reason for ensuring this group is included in future studies.

The findings of the study are being submitted to the Civil Courts review being led by Lord Gill, and to the Scottish Government. Consumer Focus Scotland is also submitting its written evidence to the Public Petitions committee of the Scottish Parliament on the introduction of McKenzie Friends to assist unrepresented litigants

Press Release Source Consumer Focus Scotland 30 July 2009


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008 © Rosemary Slessor

Back to TOP