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New Bill Could See Better Access to Justice for Many Scots

A new Bill which is set to change the costs that people pay when going to court could help many more get access to justice. The potential expense of going to court is a significant deterrent for many people looking to pursue legal action in civil courts, even in cases where they have a legitimate and justified claim.

Many Scots are frightened of the prospect of going to court due to the potential costs they may face

There has been discussion for some time now about how the current position can be changed in order to benefit those who take their claims to court. As it stands, in many cases the successful claimant will only receive compensation that is at most two-thirds of the legal costs they have paid in pursuing their claim.

The Scottish Government has proposed changes to the way civil litigation is funded, outlined in the recently published Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill. The Bill was introduced following Sheriff Principal James Taylor’s 2013 Review of Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland, and the proposals within are welcomed by many.

The main purpose of the Bill is to “increase access to justice by creating a more accessible, affordable and equitable civil justice system”. The Bill looks to increase cost transparency in civil cases, making it easier to estimate the full cost of making a claim from start to finish, as well as looking at expanding the funding options that are available to those pursuing civil actions.

The proposals

  • The Bill introduces a sliding cap, which not only makes the legal fees involved clearer but also offers a level of protection from a large expense at the end of an unsuccessful personal injury claim.

  • A formula for personal injury as well as other civil cases is established. The formula is easy to follow, and helps clients work out the fees their lawyers are able to charge, should they enter into a “success fee” agreement.

  • If a pursuer has acted properly, the Bill suggests the risk of having to pay for their opponent’s legal costs in unsuccessful personal injury cases should be removed.

  • If passed, the new Act will also allow groups of people to sue within the civil court against the same defender if they have the same or similar claim. Under the current system, these cases must be pursued on an individual basis.

The Bill is still in its early stages of parliamentary approval. Due to the size and nature of the changes proposed, it is likely to face tough scrutiny within Holyrood. The Justice Committee has been assigned to scrutinise the Bill, and it has asked for written evidence to be supplied on its potential impact. The Committee has asked to see the evidence by 18th August. The consultation will allow all interested parties to have their say before the beginning of the new parliamentary session.

At Dallas McMillan we have a wealth of experience dealing with Personal Injury Claims and helping our clients get the compensation they deserve. We routinely handle a wide range of accidents all over Scotland, including workplace injuries, road traffic accidents and injuries in public places. We also deal with occupational diseases including repetitive strain injuries, industrial deafness, asbestos-related diseases and vibration white finger.

Our offices are based in Glasgow and we deal with personal injury claims across the country. We regularly work with clients on a no-win, no-fee basis. Representing our clients in this way means you do not need to worry about the financial implications of pursuing your claim. On top of our no-win, no-fee service, we aim wherever possible to pay 100% of the settlement sums to our clients on successful claims, including no deduction for payment of fees, outlays or VAT.

Our team of dedicated lawyers pursue claims for our clients in all the Sheriff Courts, as well as in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Our team is led by Gordon Bell, Partner and Head of Civil Litigation. Gordon is a member of the UK Association of Personal Injury Lawyers as well as a Law Society of Scotland Accredited Specialist in personal injury claims.

We offer clients the highest quality legal advice and a friendly and professional service.


Contact our Personal Injury Solicitors in Glasgow, Scotland

Our Personal Injury lawyers based in Glasgow and serving the whole of Scotland can help you with all areas of your claim, ensuring you receive the best representation. To speak to us, call today on 0141 413 4292 or complete our online enquiry form.


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