Tayside Commercial Court to expand

Following the success of the Tayside Commercial Court, it is to expand to cover the whole Tayside, Central and Fife Sheriffdom.

This will mean the appointment of four further commercial court sheriffs across the region.

The Tayside Commercial Court was established three years ago and deals with a wide range of business such as certain contracts, the sale of goods, the export or import of merchandise; insurance; banking; leases and the provision of services.

Sheriff Principal Marysia Lewis said: “The establishment of the Commercial Court in Tayside in 2017 has helped improve the effective throughput of civil business in Dundee, Forfar, and Perth. It has achieved the objective of maintaining a high standard of judicial decision-making efficiently delivered after taking into account the resources available to achieve it.

“Given the success of the Tayside Court and following representations made to me, I have taken the decision to expand the Commercial Court to the rest of the Sheriffdom. There are several sheriffs across Tayside, Central and Fife who have a background in commercial litigation, and with their experience and expertise in commercial procedures we are well placed to expand.”

There are currently three commercial sheriffs in the Sheriffdom: Sheriff Lindsay Foulis (Perth), Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC (Dundee), and Sheriff Gregor Murray (Forfar). Four more will be nominated as commercial sheriffs from tomorrow: Sheriff Gillian Wade QC (Perth), Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown (Dundee), Sheriff Alastair Thornton (Kirkcaldy), and Sheriff Derek Hamilton (Falkirk).

Administration & Documents

For administrative purposes, all new commercial actions may be commenced in Perth Sheriff Court, and thereafter all documents are to be lodged and processed in Perth Sheriff Court. The Sheriff Principal has directed that corporate insolvency applications are suitable for the Commercial Court.

If an action is defended, the process will be passed to one of the commercial sheriffs in the new Tayside, Central and Fife Commercial Court and thereafter that cause will remain with the same sheriff until concluded.

Read the Practice Note.


Chapter 40 of the Ordinary Cause Rules provides that a commercial action may be raised only in a sheriff court where the Sheriff Principal for the sheriffdom has directed that the procedure should be available.

The Commercial Court has been created in terms of rule 40.1 and rule 40.2 of the Ordinary Cause Rules.

In terms of rule 40.2(a) a commercial action means an action arising out of, or concerned with, any transaction or dispute of a commercial or business nature including but not limited to actions relating to: 

  • the construction of a commercial contract
  • the sale or hire purchase of goods
  • the export or import of merchandise
  • the carriage of goods by land, air or sea
  • insurance
  • banking
  • the provision of services
  • a building, engineering or construction contract
  • a commercial lease.

The Sheriff Principal has agreed that corporate insolvency applications are suitable for the Commercial Court.