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Justice Committee calls for evidence on Civil Litigation Bill

16 June 2017

Holyrood’s Justice Committee has issued its call for evidence on the Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill as it begins its stage 1 scrutiny of the bill.

Introduced earlier this month, the bill principally takes forward recommendations of the Taylor Review in 2013 on the costs of civil litigation, with the aim of improving access to justice in the civil courts. (Click here for report.)

Its provisions include allowing fees to be calculated as a percentage of a damages or other payment award, capping of fees payable under "no win, no fee" type arrangements, and "qualified one-way cost shifting" to prevent losing claimants for damages being found liable for the other party's expenses in most cases. It also introduces the possibility of bringing "group proceedings" for people with similar claims.

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?

Committee convener Margaret Mitchell MSP commented: “This bill is proposing a significant change to the costs for people in Scotland seeking compensation through the courts.

“The committee is hoping to hear views about the bill’s aims and, crucially, whether it will aid access to justice.

“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.”

Click here to view the call for evidence. The committee wants to hear from members of the legal profession, consumer groups, academics and those with an interest in access to justice. The deadline for responses is Friday 18 August 2017.
 

 

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