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Civil court system reform in Scotland: latest personal injury figures

At the end of March, the latest Scottish civil justice figures were published highlighting that the number of claims for damages for personal injuries being pursued through the sheriff courts is dropping, whereas the number raised in the Court of Session remains consistent. According to the figures, these claims accounted for 79% of the cases raised in the Court of Session in 2012-13 and there were 8,700 cases involving personal injury claims raised in total in Scotland last year. 

As the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill proceeds through the Scottish Parliament, Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Secretary, commenting on the latest civil justice figures, indicated that the proposed reforms in the Bill are necessary to ensure that the cases are heard in the most appropriate court. Several organisations, including the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), have expressed concern that raising the limit for actions in the sheriff court from the current level of £5,000 to £150,000 will effectively end the role of the Court of Session in hearing personal injury cases, with the result that there will be a significant additional burden on the sheriff courts, which the system may be unable to cope with.

Despite these concerns, the Scottish Government is clear that the priority is to ensure that many of the cases which are currently being raised in the Court of Session, particularly low value personal injury cases, are instead dealt with in the sheriff courts in order to avoid unnecessary cost and delays. 

View the 2012-13 Civil Law Statistics.

Contact

For further information please contact Catherine Hart, Associate on 0141 228 8000.

By Catherine Hart

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