The amount spent on legal aid for civil cases rose by almost a fifth last year, even though the number brought before the courts fell, statistics show.
More repossession proceedings were started, according to official figures on civil court cases in Scotland. Meanwhile, fewer couples got divorced in 2011-12.
A total of 85,256 civil cases were initiated in Scotland's sheriff courts and the Court of Session in 2011-12. That is 13% lower than the previous year and 35% less than in 2008-09.
The number of applications for legal aid to help with the cost of civil cases fell 6% to 20,015. This was paid in 14,915 civil cases last year, up 5% on the previous period.
Spending on civil legal aid amounted to almost £46 million in 2011-12, up 17%.
A total of £45,589,000 was spent last year, compared with £38,834,000 in 2010-11 and £31,741,000 in 2008-09.
Spending on legal aid for civil cases in the Court of Session increased by 38% to £12.3 million, while the amount paid out in legal aid for civil cases in the sheriff courts also rose, by 10% to £32.9 million.
Almost a third more repossession cases were initiated in sheriff courts last year compared with the previous 12-month period, up 29% to 6,752, although this is significantly lower than in 2008-09 when it was 10,141.
Repossession cases usually involve a lender taking legal action against a borrower who defaults on a mortgage or loan secured on their property. The number of eviction cases, usually involving a tenant with rent arrears, initiated in the sheriff courts fell 1% to 13,979.
Meanwhile, a total of 9,453 divorces were granted last year, 2% fewer than in 2010-11.