The newly published Courts Reform Scotland Bill is intended to overhaul the whole system in order to direct proceedings to the most appropriate judge and court and make civil justice quicker and cheaper.
The most direct areas of concern for FNF Scotland are the proposals to develop 'specialisation' among sheriffs. The tradition up to now has been that any sheriff should be able to turn his or her hand to any matter that lay within the jurisdiction of Scottish civil law. Lord Gill, who carried out the original civil justice review, recommended increased specialisation in areas such as personal injury, commercial law - or family law.
In practice the larger courts already do this to some degree but it isn't really practical in the smaller courts. Some of the smaller courts are already marked for closure with their business being moved to bigger courts.
Another significant proposal is the creation of a new category of 'summary sheriffs' who might end up dealing with some contact and residence matters.
Lord Gill's review also highlighted the need for better forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which could easily be relevant to family cases. The most often mentioned form of ADR in family cases is mediation in its various forms but some separated parents have also tried arbitration.
While ADR might not need legislation, FNF Scotland will be pressing for it not to be forgotten in amongst the court reform.