The Cost of Going to Court

Holyrood’s Justice Committee has begun its scrutiny of the Civil Litigation Bill and has launched a call for evidence seeking views on the cost of going to court.

The aim of the Bill is to improve access to justice in the civil courts by making the costs associated with bringing a civil action, such as suing a body or individual for personal injury, more predictable and more affordable. One of the major changes it proposes is to allow fees payable under ‘no win, no fee’ type arrangements to be capped.

The Bill also implements many of other the recommendations made by the Taylor Review in 2013, including proposals ending the obligation to pay your opponent’s legal costs if you are unsuccessful in some personal injury claims, and introducing the possibility of bringing ‘group proceedings’ for people with similar claims.

“This Bill is proposing a significant change to the costs for people in Scotland seeking compensation through the courts,” explained Justice Committee Convener, Margaret Mitchell MSP.

“The Committee is hoping to hear views about the Bill’s aims and, crucially, whether it will aid access to justice,” she added. “Members will be considering whether it strikes the right balance between pursuers and defenders, as well as its impact on the court system and if there are any unintended consequences.”

Key questions the Committee is asking include:

  • Does the Bill deliver better access to justice; does it make the system more accessible, affordable and equitable?
  • What do you believe the impact of the Bill will be on the court system?
  • What cost implications could the Bill have?
  • Are there any other provisions that should be included in the Bill?
  • Does the Bill strike the right balance between pursuers and defenders of claims?

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