ANNEX B - METHODOLOGY
1. BELF met for the first time on 4 February 2008, when the Cabinet Secretary for Justice outlined his vision for the group. The group met in plenary on a further 3 occasions, with the final meeting on 25 June 2008.
2. In addition to plenary meetings:
- BELF met in two sub-groups which considered respectively the areas of Civil Procedures reform, and Specialism and Perception; and
- two meetings were held in Glasgow and Edinburgh with representatives of commercial law firms.
3. The aim of BELF was to act as a short-life group which would draw on the experience and knowledge of its members and those who contributed to meetings to identify issues and possibilities which could be taken forward by the Scottish Government, courts and legal profession.
It was agreed that the work-streams would focus on how:
- Scottish businesses might be encouraged to continue to use the Scottish civil court system for the resolution of their disputes in preference to courts in other jurisdictions;
- Scotland might increase its attraction as a jurisdiction to which international businesses could turn for dispute resolution services
- the Scottish legal profession and legal system could develop niche areas of legal business through which to:
- gain a competitive advantage; and
- enhance the attraction of Scotland as a place in which to do business, for local business and inward investment
- the Scottish courts could become more business-focused
- the perception of the Scottish legal system could be positively broadened and promoted both within and beyond Scotland
It was also agreed that the Forum's scope should include not just the Scottish civil court system in its pure sense but also other forms of dispute resolution that might be used by businesses, including arbitration and mediation.
Although the focus would be on areas in which improvements could be made for business users of the Scottish civil courts, it was hoped that many of the recommendations might also lead to general improvements for non-business users.