It will become more affordable for people to access civil justice in Scotland. The Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill passed stage 3 of its progression through the Scottish Parliament on the 1st of May 2018. It had the support of the whole Parliament.
Gordon Dalyell, the Vice President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) said:
“APIL welcomes this Bill, which recognises the vulnerability of injured people in the court process. By giving them greater clarity and certainty, the Bill will lead to a real increase in access to justice for people who need it most, and set a standard for the rest of the UK to follow.”
It was felt necessary to introduce the reforms in Scotland because access to civil justice had become limited due to costs.
The Aims of the Bill are to:
- make the costs of civil court action more predictable
- increase funding options for pursuing civil actions
- introduce a greater level of equality to the funding relationship between pursuers and defenders in personal injury actions.
Amongst the changes that are brought in with the legislation is that a limit can be placed on the maximum amount of damages that can be claimed, if thought necessary, by Scottish Ministers. Courts will also have the optional power to require that a payment goes to a charity registered in Scotland.
Annabelle Ewing , Minister for Legal Affairs in the Scottish Government said:
“The potential costs involved in civil court action can deter many people from pursuing legal action, even where their claim may have good grounds for success.
“This bill will improve the ability of people in Scotland who have a civil claim to pursue that case in the courts. It seeks to remove some of the barriers which, in the past, have deterred individuals from accessing justice in the civil courts.”