Top judge Lord Gill says justice bill would have 'profound' effect
Scotland's top judge has told a committee of MSPs that new laws to reform the civil justice system would have a "profound" effect.
Lord Gill, the Lord President and Lord Justice General, was speaking about the Scottish Civil Justice and Criminal Legal Assistance Bill.
Holyrood's justice committee is taking evidence on the bill.
Lord Gill undertook a review of Scottish civil courts, which made wide-ranging recommendations.
He said he wanted to see improvements to the effectiveness and efficiency of the system.
The judge's review recommended setting up a civil justice council to replace both the Court of Session rules council and Sheriff Court rules council.
Under the bill, accused people with a disposable income of at least £68 a week would have to make a financial contribution to the cost of legal aid.
The Scottish government believes that about £5m could be saved each year by changing the contributions element.
Lord Gill told the committee: "We're just beginning a very remarkable process of legislative reform in Scotland which will profoundly affect civil justice for, I believe, the benefit of the whole system.
"The Scottish civil courts review was the first major exercise of its kind for over a century.
"The bill marks the first stage of implementation of the recommendations of the review in legislation."