Dynamics of institutional and professional change: the reform of the Scottish Civil Justice System
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date26/11/2020
Ozturk Kayalak, Ilay Hicret
This dissertation focuses on the institutional change that occurred to the Scottish civil justice system after the introduction and implementation of the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act in 2014. In this process, the Scottish civil justice system went through its most significant transformation in over 150 years. This reformation has created new judicial bodies, changed the jurisdictional reach of courts, significantly altered the allocations of the civil cases within the justice system. By conducting a qualitative case study, this dissertation explores how change unfolds in a highly institutionalised and potentially contested setting with multiple groups of actors. Theoretically, I draw on institutional theory and the sociology of professions, and it is to these theories that my study aims to contribute. My dissertation is comprised of three interrelated papers that appear in chapters three, four and five. Chapter Three examines the unsettlement caused by reforms due to the pronounced threats to the status of different groups of actors in the field. This paper focuses on the impact of these threats, and the varying responses among groups of professional actors. In so doing, it examines how intra-professional status differences and uncertainty hinder attempts to maintain threatened institutions. Chapter Four examines the lack of institutional disruption, and in particular asked why such pronounced change within the judicial system did not cause the expected disruption within the professional field that occupied it. This paper presents mechanisms of persistence that keep field disruption at bay and maintain the internal cohesiveness of the profession. These mechanisms are jurisdictional contentment and lack of a career bridge. Chapter Five focuses on the theorisation efforts of the change agents in the Scottish civil justice system and explains why these failed. In so doing, this paper provides a revised theory of theorisation that incorporates emotions.