The Scottish Civil Justice and Criminal Legal Assistance Bill will establish a civil justice council responsible for formulating policy and drafting court procedure rules in the civil courts once it is passed by MSPs
It will also introduce financial contributions to the cost of legal aid for accused people who have disposable income of at least £68 a week.
MSPs on Holyrood's Justice Committee were taking evidence from Lord Gill, the Lord President and Lord Justice General, as they consider the plans.
Lord Gill's review of Scottish civil courts made wide-ranging recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the system, including setting up a civil justice council to replace both the Court of Session rules council and Sheriff Court rules council.
He said: "We're beginning a remarkable process of legislative reform which will profoundly affect civil justice for 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. In my career I have seen many projects run into the sand, but my colleagues and I are gratified at the Scottish Government's positive response to the recommendations."