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Coronavirus - Court Proceedings

Coronavirus - Court Proceedings in Family and Civil Actions during COVID 19 Outbreak

The Sheriff Principal of The Sheriffdom of Tayside Central and Fife, which Sheriffdom covers the Sheriff Courts at Dundee, Forfar, Perth, Alloa, Dunfermline, Falkirk, Kirkcaldy and Stirling, has issued guidance on how court cases will be conducted during this period of ‘lockdown’.  

Some courts, including Perth Sheriff Court, our most local Sheriff Court, are closed.  

Court business is being diverted, for example in respect of Perth Sheriff Court, to Dundee Sheriff Court.  

In general, cases which are ongoing are having their dates discharged and new dates will be fixed by the courts, for dates no earlier than August 2020.  In some Civil and family cases where there has been no Proof (Civil trial) assigned by the court already, all Hearings will be discharged “administratively” by the courts and the cases will be “sisted” (temporarily suspended) until further orders of court, or, in other words, until the court decides otherwise.  This means for some that their Proofs (civil trials) will be discharged and a new date will be fixed in July or August of 2020 for a date later than August 2020.  

In some cases where there have been Child Welfare Hearings or Family Options Hearings (where parties’ attendance at court is mandatory), the hearings have been discharged and new dates will be arranged.  You should contact your solicitor about those.  

Where there are urgent or priority matters to be dealt with then these can still be dealt with and you should contact your solicitor to discuss that.  It is expected however that there will be a delay in dealing with urgent matters and the usual timescales will be lengthened.  It is also possible that the courts will decide to deal with such urgent or priority matters by written correspondence setting out the facts and arguments for each side and/or the court dealing with matters by video.  It is for the court at their discretion to decide how cases are dealt with (if they determine that they are priority or urgent).

Please do not hesitate to contact myself (Enable JavaScript to view protected content.) or Sally McCartney (Enable JavaScript to view protected content.) if you wish to discuss your case in particular.

We are able to assist  remotely by email during this period of self-isolation and social distancing.

Finally, you may find guidance or assistance on some of the following websites:-

www.kippencampbell.com

www.familylawassociation.org

www.consensus-scotland.com

www.calmscotland.co.uk 

www.relationships-scotland.org.uk

www.scotcourts.gov.uk

Susan Wightman
Partner
Law Society of Scotland Accredited Specialist in Family Law


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