The Scottish Government has passed the Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill which will ensure that there is greater funding equity between those injured and those defending personal injury actions.
The purpose of the new law
The aim of the Bill is to increase access to justice in Scotland in the following ways:
- Introduction of damages-based agreements - this allows solicitors to be paid a percentage of the client's compensation where a court claim is successful;
- Introduction of qualified, one-way costs shifting for personal injury cases. This protects a pursuer from being required to pay the defenders' legal expenses if they lose their case, but still allows them to claim legal expenses from the defender if they win;
- New requirements on commercially motivated third parties who fund litigation in which they do not have a direct interest; and
- Empowering the court to introduce rules to support group proceedings, whereby one set of court proceedings may be brought on behalf of two or more parties.
This Bill implements recommendations made by Sheriff Principal Taylor after his review of expenses and funding of civil litigation in Scotland. The initial review by Sheriff Principal Taylor lasted more than two years and covered issues concerning the expense and funding of civil litigation, which includes personal injury cases, in Scotland.
The Bill puts into statute approximately half of the recommendations of Sheriff Principal Taylor's review with some of his recommendations, for example on sanction for court, already being implemented in the Court Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.
The Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 1 June 2017 and written submissions from interested parties closed on 31 July 2017. The Bill passed Stage 3 on 1 May 2018.
Our Personal Injury team are experienced in representing those injured and will give first class legal representation, support and care to an injured person and their family.
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