Debt cases in court fall by nearly half over past five years

Debt cases in court fall by nearly half over past five years

The number of debt cases being considered by Scottish courts has continued to fall for the fifth year in a row.

There were 35,400 debt cases raised in 2013-14, a drop of 46 per cent since 2008-09.

The latest civil justice statistics, published by Scotland’s chief statistician show the total number of civil law cases initiated in Scottish courts is at its lowest in the past five years.

There were 77,300 civil law cases raised in Scotland in the financial year 2013-14, a decrease of 41 per cent since 2008-09, largely because the number of debt cases have nearly halved since then.

There were 35,400 debt cases raised in 2013-14, a similar number to 2012-13 but 46 per cent lower than the 65,800 cases raised in 2008-09.

Changes in types of borrowing, settlements out of court and perceived lower chances of recovering money are among the possible causes for the drop in cases brought to court.

Despite the decline in debt cases, they still make up nearly half civil law cases in courts, followed by family disputes, eviction cases and personal injury claims.

Divorces continued their downward trend as a one per cent reduction on the previous year resulted in 9,600 divorces in 2013-14.

For the first time there was also a reduction in the number of dissolutions, with 61 granted in 2013-14 compared to 67 in 2012-13.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey shows that nearly one in four adults has experienced at least one civil law problem in the last three years.

The most common type of issue is disputes with neighbours, followed by problems with faulty goods and services, and then money and debt.

The number of damages cases raised in court fell for the fourth year running, to 3,200 for 2013-14.

Civil law cases raised at the Court of Session in 2013-14 were down two per cent compared to the previous year to 4,800. However, the number of cases raised at the sheriff courts, which account for 94 per cent of civil law cases, was virtually unchanged from 2012-13 at 72,500.

Nearly a third of personal injury cases were raised at the Court of Session where they made up over three quarters of the cases in the General Department.

The exclusive competence of the sheriff courts is set to rise on 22 September which is expected to reduce the number of low value personal injury cases raised in the Court of Session.

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