Widening access to civil justice

Legislation to expand funding options for civil actions passed.

People considering legal action to enforce their rights will have a wider range of funding options and better protection from court costs under new legislation.

The passing of the Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill will ensure civil justice is more affordable, predictable and accessible – while providing greater funding equity between claimants and defenders in personal injury actions.

Minister for Legal Affairs Annabelle Ewing said:

“The potential costs involved in civil court action can deter many people from pursuing legal action, even where their claim may have good grounds for success.

“This bill will improve the ability of people in Scotland who have a civil claim to pursue that case in the courts. It seeks to remove some of the barriers which, in the past, have deterred individuals from accessing justice in the civil courts.”

Sheriff Principal James Taylor said:

“This bill achieves my objectives of rebalancing the relative bargaining strengths of parties to a personal injury litigation and properly regulating the funding system.”

Gordon Dalyell, the Vice President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) said:

“APIL welcomes this Bill, which recognises the vulnerability of injured people in the court process. By giving them greater clarity and certainty, the Bill will lead to a real increase in access to justice for people who need it most, and set a standard for the rest of the UK to follow.”

Kim Leslie of the Law Society of Scotland’s Civil Justice Committee said:

“We welcome the Bill. It will create a fairer, more accessible and affordable civil justice system for members of the Scottish public seeking redress through our courts.”


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