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Pick of the bunch

17 May 10

A new type of Journal feature presents a Who's Who of personal injury litigators in the Court of Session

This month the Journal brings you the first in what is intended to be an occasional series designed to showcase particular sectors of the Scottish legal profession, with a Who’s Who in Personal Injury Litigation. Focusing on the solicitors’ firms and advocates with a specialism in bringing the more complex actions in the Court of Session, we invited advocates’ stables, firms with solicitors holding rights of audience in the higher civil courts, and firms rated in the legal directories, to nominate their leading litigators in this area.

The Gill review has of course led to a particular focus on personal injury cases, with its proposals, controversial at least to many within the sector, for a jurisdiction threshold of £150,000 in Court of Session actions, resulting in the great majority of personal injury cases that are currently brought there being transferred to a new specialist court within Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Without taking sides on the merits of that recommendation, it can at least be said that the review team recognised the special expertise that has developed among litigators in the Court of Session in personal injury cases, and devised what they saw as a pragmatic solution, consistent with their overall designs for the civil courts in Scotland, to keep this body of work and expertise more or less intact.

We are grateful to those who took the time to respond and to submit an entry. These reveal a perhaps surprising range of special interests, whether in particular types of injury such as brain or spinal cases, or certain types of accident or liability: you will find mention not only of workplace-related and road traffic cases, but occupier’s liability, public liability, medical cases, offshore installations, and even motorcycle-related accidents, among others.

The survey also revealed a range of business models among solicitors’ firms, from those who develop a strong in-house team of solicitor advocates to those whose policy is to instruct counsel in most cases. Hence the scope of the feature refined somewhat as it developed, but we have tried to keep a level playing field for all those considered. We have tried to apply objective criteria but apologise if anyone was overlooked in this exercise.

We hope the feature will be of interest to those within Scotland and to others beyond. The recent publicity given to the legal profession in Scotland has not shown it in the kindest light, but we should not lose sight of the fact that at its best it can more than hold its own against any others. At a time when the drive is on to enable the profession to compete with others particularly in England & Wales, we think it right to promote excellence at home.

To view the Journal's list of Who's Who in personal injury litigation, download the PDF version of the May edition.

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