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Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill

The Scottish Government has introduced a Bill to reform the ways in which litigation is funded in Scotland.

The Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill implements the recommendations from Sheriff Principal Taylor’s 2013 Review of the Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation in Scotland.  The stated aims of the Bill are to increase access to justice in civil actions by:

  • Making the costs of civil court action more predictable
  • Increasing funding options for pursuing civil actions
  • Introducing a greater level of equality to the funding relationship between pursuers and defenders in personal injury actions.

The Bill is split into five parts:

  • Part 1: Success fee agreements
  • Part 2: Expenses in civil litigation
  • Part 3: Auditor of court
  • Part 4: Group proceedings
  • Part 5: General provision

Perhaps the most significant change is the provision for qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) for personal injury cases.  Under the current system, expenses generally follow success.  It has been said that this can lead to an inequality of arms between defenders (who usually have the benefit of insurance) and pursuers, who do not.  If QOCS is introduced, this means that the court will not make an award of expenses against an unsuccessful pursuer, unless there has been fraudulent misrepresentation, they have behaved in a way which falls below the standard expected by the court or there has been an abuse of process.

It is hoped that these changes will help to eliminate the perceived “David v Goliath” scenario which exists in personal injury actions and they are to be welcomed.

Commercial Litigation Lawyers Glasgow, Scotland

For further information please contact our commercial litigation specialists today on 0141 413 5918 or complete our online enquiry form.

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