Scottish legal reform in the making

13 Sep 2016

The first week’s business of the post-summer session of the Scottish Parliament has just concluded.

The Scottish Government has committed to the introduction of four 'Justice Bills' before the end of June 2017. Whilst those have not yet been introduced to the Scottish Parliament, the Government has given an indication of their scope.

The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) Bill proposes to abolish the three year time bar rule for childhood abuse cases and allow already litigated claims to be litigated again if they were disposed of only on time bar grounds.

Of special interest to all customers of BLM too is the Expenses and Funding of Litigation Bill. The Scottish Government plans for that to:

  • allow damages-based agreements (DBAs) to be enforceable by solicitors;
  • introduce qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) for personal injury cases and appeals, including clinical negligence, and specify the circumstances when the benefit of QOCS would not apply;
  • introduce sliding caps for success fee agreements in personal injury and other civil actions;
  • allow for new court rules for legal representatives to bear the cost where their conduct in a civil action has caused needless cost; and
  • allow for the introduction of a multi-party action procedure in Scotland.

The other proposed areas for legislation are a Contract (Third Party Rights) Bill to reform the current rule of contract law, which creates an enforceable right in favour of a (non-contracting) third party and replace it with a statutory version. The Domestic Abuse Bill will create a new crime of psychological abuse such as controlling and coercive behaviour.

BLM Scotland will be sure to keep you posted as the Bills progress, with particular reference to the potential impact of them on your business.

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Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to customers of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

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