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Background

Civil actions may be conducted in the Sheriff Court or in the Court of Session. Sheriff Court proceedings have no limit of jurisdiction in terms of money and may offer speed, simplicity and cheapness, but larger claims will usually be heard in the Court of Session, which always sits in Edinburgh. In certain damages actions (which includes those actions of damages for personal injuries and also defamation actions) the case may be heard by a judge sitting with a jury of twelve, although the vast majority of such cases are dealt with by a judge sitting alone. A diagram of the civil court system is shown below.

Civil court system in Scotland flow chart

HSE becomes involved in civil proceedings because information may be held in the form of documents or property which may be of interest to the parties in the action. Inspectors may also be required to appear in court as witnesses.

Description of Flowchart:
Sheriff goes up to Sherif Principal, which is connected on the same level to Court of Session (Outer House). Sheriff also goes up higher to Cout of Session (Inner House) which goes up to House of Lords.

Updated 2020-10-05