New Court Reporter Pack issued
The ICAS Court Reporter Pack has been significantly updated. David Menzies looks at the developments.
The insolvency court reporter in Scotland is somewhat unique to both the Scottish Court system and insolvency in the UK.
In Scottish corporate insolvency cases, where there is no creditors committee, the role of determining the remuneration of an administrator or liquidator falls to the Court and the practice has become for the court to appoint a reporter to examine and audit the office holders accounts and make a recommendation as to the amount of remuneration that the court should determine is payable to the office holder.
The Court Reporter role has no statutory framework or backing but has developed a working practice within the Scottish court system. This has led to a number of legal cases in recent years including the Opinions issued by Lord Bannatyne regarding Equal Exchange Trading Limited and Sheriff Jamieson regarding S & M Livestock Limited. These have considered the role and remit of the court reporter.
Following concerns raised with ICAS in 2006 by Sheriff Principal Taylor, ICAS issued a Court Reporter Pack in 2007 which set out a style of report and provided some guidance on the work to be carried out by court reporters. Given developments in the intervening period, the ICAS Insolvency Committee has been considering elements of the court reporter system.
Concerns were raised about the need for greater clarity on the work to be undertaken by insolvency court reporters, differing approaches taken by Courts throughout Scotland to the appointment of insolvency court reporters, and a desire for greater transparency of the insolvency court reporter system, contributing to an increase in public trust in the overall insolvency framework.
Following a substantial exercise involving a significant number of those appointed as court reporters on a regular basis and liaising with the Auditor of Court, a new and enhanced ICAS Court Reporter Pack has been produced.
The updated ICAS Court Reporter Pack provides a detailed work programme, updated styles of reports for both Sheriff Court and Court of Session procedures, an explanatory note on the work of a court reporter and an engagement framework.
The ICAS Court Report Work Pack does not have any formal standing with the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and is therefore not a requirement to be used by Court Reporters. It’s use however is likely to result in compliance with the remit and role of the court reporter as set out in the court decisions.
ICAS have engaged with the Scottish Civil Justice Council and the Lord President to discuss how to further develop the insolvency court reporter framework with the aim of enhancing transparency and strengthening public trust in this aspect of the insolvency framework. Such aspects may include, for example,
- a consistent approach throughout the Scottish Courts to the use of panels of insolvency court reporters
- mechanisms to ensure that panels are regularly reviewed and refreshed where appropriate
- giving greater standing to the current informal practice of insolvency court reporter appointments
- the basis of the insolvency court reporters fee