New court receives its mace

22 Sep

A specially-commissioned mace for the new Sheriff Appeal Court has been presented to its President, Sheriff Principal Mhairi Stephen, QC, during a ceremony to mark the opening of the new legal year.

Addressing an audience in the First Division courtroom of Parliament House, Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice Clerk, said this new legal year held particular significance for Scotland’s court system.

He said many years of work, started by the Scottish Civil Courts Review, had come to fruition as the first of the court reforms were implemented, and two new courts were established, the Sheriff Appeal Court and the all-Scotland Personal Injury Court.

“Reaching this point has required an enormous contribution from the staff of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, the Government, judges, advocates and solicitors alike,” said Lord Carloway.

“One individual requires special mention. Lord Gill, who retired as Lord President in May, dedicated eight years to the reform of our court system. The implementation of the reforms in this new legal year owes so much to his foresight, determination and leadership. Despite the reservations of some in relation to particular reforms, these will be part of his lasting legacy and we will ultimately, I am sure, be in his debt.

“The court reforms are just one aspect of what will be, over time, a radical overhaul of our justice system...(it) is seeking new and innovative ways to use technology…this will cause a hastening of the pace of business; a challenge we must strive to meet.”

After receiving the mace for her court, Sheriff Principal Stephen said it was a symbol of the authority of the court.

“A new court is a historic event in any nation’s system of justice. Today is a landmark not only for the Sheriff Appeal Court but for the other civil court reforms designed to serve the needs of a modern Scotland,” she added.

The full text of Lord Carloway’s address is at