1. This is a Scottish Government consultation paper on enhancing access to justice by increasing funding options and creating greater predictability and certainty in relation to the expenses and funding of litigation.
2. The Scottish Government wants to ensure there is sustainable, effective access to justice for both publicly funded and private clients. Your views are invited on the proposed introduction of legislation to the Scottish Parliament with this aim.
3. In this consultation we invite your views on specific proposals on primary legislative provisions that would implement key recommendations from Sheriff Principal Taylor's Report of the Review of Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland ("the Taylor Review"), published in September 2013.
4. We also intend to make provision for legal aid to be available for legal persons which would impact on costs and funding of litigation in Scotland, stimulated by emerging European Court of Justice case law. We have also considered whether a Bill could include a small number of outstanding recommendations from The Rt Hon Lord Gill's Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review ("SCCR"), published in September 2009, and the consultation invites views on the conclusion of that consideration.
5. We would like to hear your views on our proposals. This paper covers a range of complex issues and we appreciate there is a lot to consider. That is why we wanted to set out these ideas at an early stage, to ensure we develop draft legislation that is fully informed by information on the likely impact on a range of interests. The views received will help shape the draft legislation that we present to Parliament.
6. Background information on Sheriff Principal Taylor's Review and the Scottish Government response is contained in this consultation paper, together with questions to assist you in framing your consultation response. The relevant recommendations from the Taylor Report are included at Annex A and, likewise, the relevant SCCR recommendations are included at Annex B.
7. The questions throughout the consultation paper are repeated in a questionnaire at Annex C. However, in responding to this consultation, please do not feel constrained by the questions set.
8. We appreciate some people will have a particular interest in certain areas. We would encourage you to respond to any or all of those areas where you feel you have a contribution to make.