In 2013 Sheriff Principal Taylor issued a comprehensive document entitled "Review of the Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland". This Review made a number of wide ranging recommendations and reviewed the costs of litigation in Scotland.
On 1 June 2017 the Scottish Government published a new Bill to attempt to make it easier and more affordable to raise a court action and to make the cost of court action more predictable.
The Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill attempts to reflect the recommendations made by Sheriff Principal Taylor. The Bill will enable groups of people to sue in the civil courts where they have the same or a similar claim against the same defender or defenders. Currently under Scots law such cases have to be pursued separately. The prospect of allowing multi- party actions to be dealt with in Scottish civil courts is an important reform that will widen access to justice.
The current situation
At present the Bill is with the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament. The Committee issued a call for evidence on its impact and is currently considering both written and oral evidence. Given that this Bill has the potential to radically change the landscape of civil litigation funding in Scotland, key stakeholders are keen to have their say.
The Bill is currently making its way through the various Parliamentary stages and
Sheriff Principal Taylor is due to give evidence to the Justice Committee at the end of this month.
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