Publication - Statistics publication

Civil Justice Statistics in Scotland 2013-14

Published: 21 Jul 2015
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781785445408

The 2013-14 Civil Justice in Scotland release includes:

1. Main statistics tables (compromising tables that appear in this bulletin)

2. Divorce & dissolution statistics tables (further breakdowns on divorce & dissolution)

3. Supplementary statistics tables (additional statistics on civil law cases in sheriff courts and the Court of Session)

4. Background data tables (an interactive dataset on civil law court cases by court, that can be used to generate user customised tables and charts)

65 page PDF

1.2 MB

65 page PDF

1.2 MB

Contents
Civil Justice Statistics in Scotland 2013-14
7. Personal injury

65 page PDF

1.2 MB

7. Personal injury

Nearly a third of personal injury cases were raised in the Court of Session where they made up over three quarters of the cases in the General Department

Over half of personal injury cases were in relation to a road traffic accident

Personal injury in Scotland

A personal injury can be physical and/or psychological and may result from a wide range of causes including an injury received at work, a traffic accident or through negligence on the part of another party. A person who has suffered an injury can seek redress through several routes, such as making a complaint against the person/organisation they consider to be responsible for the injury, seeking assistance with any financial problems they have as a result of their injury or seeking counselling. Alternatively, they may wish to claim compensation to cover losses they have suffered as a result of the injury. A claim for compensation can be made using a claims assessor or by taking legal action in a civil court and, if successful, would result in a payment of damages being awarded.

Personal injury cases are actions of damages for, or arising from, personal injuries or the death of a person from personal injuries, which include disease or impairment, physical or mental. Personal injury actions do not cover defamation or any actions which are not commonly understood to be concerned with personal injuries; such actions are covered in the Damages chapter of this bulletin.

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey

In the 2012-13 Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, one per cent of those who responded to the civil module reported experiencing a personal injury problem and one per cent reported experiencing a medical negligence issue in the last three years.

Courts

Personal injury actions over £5,000 may be raised in either the Court of Session or the sheriff courts, however the exclusive competence of the sheriff courts is set to rise to £100,000 on 22 September 2015. Currently, the majority of personal injury cases are raised in the sheriff courts but they also account for a considerable proportion of the cases in the Court of Session. Cases heard in the Sheriff Personal Injury Court, which will be established on 22 September 2015, will be heard by specialist personal injury sheriffs. The Financial Memorandum for the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill judged that the majority of personal injury cases that can no longer be raised in the Court of Session after the exclusive competence is increased will instead be raised in the Sheriff Personal Injury Court, although they may also be raised in local sheriff courts.

Personal injury actions with a value of £5,000 or less are raised in the sheriff courts using Summary Cause procedure. In 2013-14, personal injury actions were split roughly equally between Court of Session, sheriff court Ordinary procedure and sheriff court Summary Cause procedure (Figure 14).

The number of personal injury cases has fluctuated considerably in past years, particularly between 2008-09 and 2011-12. The 8,388 personal injury cases initiated in 2013-14 was four per cent lower than 2012-13. As in every year since 2008-09, cases resulting from a road traffic accident made up the greatest proportion of personal injury case initiations. The fluctuation of road traffic accident related cases is in contrast to the downward trend in the number of reported road traffic accident casualties over the same period[8]. The second biggest category of personal injury cases was accident at work (Table 13).

The number of asbestos related personal injury cases initiated more than doubled between 2008-09 and 2009-10 but has decreased since then. The higher level in 2009-10 was mainly due to the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Act 2009, which came into force in June 2009 and allows individuals with asbestos-related pleural plaques etc. to raise a court case for personal injury (Table 13).

Figure 14: Personal injury case types, 2013-14

Figure 14: Personal injury case types, 2013-14

Table 13: Personal injury cases initiated and disposed of in the civil courts, by case type, 2008-09 to 2013-14

Cases Case type 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 % change
on 2012-13
Initiated Road traffic accident 3,441 4,637 5,790 4,614 5,106 4,770 -7
Accident at work 1,921 1,844 1,802 1,751 1,758 1,797 2
Clinical negligence 173 235 242 256 235 363 54
Asbestos 242 541 345 294 436 320 -27
Other 1,211 2,559 955 931 1,190 1,138 -4
Total initiated 6,988 9,816 9,134 7,846 8,725 8,388 -4
Disposed Road traffic accident 1,588 2,977 4,607 4,619 4,130 3,893 -6
Accident at work 1,343 1,596 1,529 1,627 1,570 1,653 5
Clinical negligence 32 104 124 133 154 178 16
Asbestos 214 181 168 216 365 598 64
Other 2,193 1,343 1,074 1,775 1,444 1,079 -25
Total disposed 5,370 6,201 7,502 8,370 7,663 7,401 -3

1. Figures for initiations and disposals do not necessarily refer to the same cases.
2. Includes Court of Session and sheriff court.
3. Statistics for 2013-14 corrected November 2015.

 

Table 14: Personal injury cases initiated and disposed of in the Court of Session, 2013-14

Case type Initiated Disposed Disposed
Absolvitor Dismissed For pursuer Expenses only Other
Defended Undefended Defended Undefended Defended Undefended
Accident at work 910 945 674 3 1 238 9 0 0 20
Road traffic accident 755 867 561 1 1 268 12 3 0 21
Asbestos 308 582 489 3 0 73 2 2 0 13
Live mesothelioma 24 27 23 0 0 2 0 1 0 1
Post mesothelioma 33 53 41 0 0 11 0 0 0 1
Pleural plaques 127 363 322 0 0 35 1 1 0 4
Pleural thickening 26 22 15 0 0 6 1 0 0 0
Other 98 117 88 3 0 19 0 0 0 7
Clinical negligence 269 117 93 9 0 13 0 1 0 1
Vibration white finger 35 51 32 0 0 16 1 0 0 2
Relative's claim 9 9 8 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Repetitive strain injury 9 9 7 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
Other 328 388 263 9 2 95 7 0 0 12
Total 2,623 2,968 2,127 26 4 705 31 6 0 69

1. Personal injury cases are raised under a specific court procedure. Either party can request permission from the court to opt out of this procedure and use the ordinary procedure.
2. Figures for initiations and disposals do not necessarily refer to the same cases.
3. Statistics corrected November 2015.

There were 2,623 personal injury cases initiated at the Court of Session in 2013-14. This is nearly a third of all personal injury cases and they make up 78 per cent of the cases raised in the General Department of the Court of Session (Figure 15). Accident at work cases were the biggest category, followed by road traffic accident. Across all categories of personal injury cases in the Court of Session, absolvitor was the most common disposal accounting for nearly three-quarters of all cases disposed. Absolvitor means the pursuer is prevented from bringing the same matter to court again but in at least some of these cases the parties involved would have come to an out-of-court settlement (Table 14).

Figure 15: Civil law cases initiated in the General Department of the Court of Session, 2013-14

Figure 15: Civil law cases initiated in the General Department of the Court of Session, 2013-14

Many asbestos cases were sisted (suspended) pending the UK Supreme Court's decision as regards a judicial review of the Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Act 2009. Following the decision of the UK Supreme Court dated 12 October 2011 in the case Axa General Insurance Ltd & Others v The Lord Advocate, direction no. 2 of 2012 was made by the Lord President on 27 August 2012 outlining the procedures to be followed in the relevant cases and disposals have since progressed accordingly.

Personal injury cases were initiated in the sheriff courts as either ordinary cause (3,159) or summary cause (2,606). The pattern of initiations and disposals for ordinary and summary cause cases was very similar. Most cases relate to road traffic accident or accident at work and for summary cause cases in particular there were few cases from other categories. As with personal injury cases in the Court of Session, absolvitor is the most common disposal (Table 15 and Table 16).

Table 15: Ordinary cause personal injury cases initiated and disposed of in the sheriff courts, 2013-14

Case type Initiated Disposed Disposed
Absolvitor Dismissed For pursuer Expenses only Other
Defended Undefended Defended Undefended Defended Undefended
Road traffic accident 2,049 1,484 598 16 6 754 82 16 2 10
Accident at work 498 417 245 9 5 126 20 5 2 5
Clinical negligence 90 59 37 12 0 7 0 1 1 1
Asbestos 12 16 11 0 0 1 1 0 0 3
Relative's claim 9 6 4 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
Vibration white finger 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Repetitive strain injury 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Other 496 446 281 22 10 101 22 6 0 4
Total 3,159 2,430 1,177 59 21 991 126 28 5 23

1. From 2 November 2009 personal injury cases with a claim amount of more than £5,000 are raised under a new ordinary cause - personal injury court procedure. Either party can request permission from the sheriff to opt out of this procedure and use the standard ordinary cause procedure. All personal injury cases with a claim amount of more than £5,000 are shown in the table above, irrespective of the procedure used.
2. Figures for initiations and disposals do not necessarily refer to the same cases.

Table 16: Summary cause personal injury cases initiated and disposed of in the sheriff courts, 2013-14

Case type Initiated Disposed Disposed
Absolvitor Dismissed For pursuer Expenses only Other
Defended Undefended Defended Undefended Defended Undefended
Road traffic accident 1,966 1,542 680 62 398 121 234 16 5 26
Accident at work 389 291 143 10 55 25 48 3 1 6
Clinical negligence 4 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Relative's claim 3 6 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
Vibration white finger 3 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Repetitive strain injury 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 240 160 95 4 19 9 28 2 0 3
Total 2,606 2,003 923 77 473 156 312 21 6 35

1. Figures for initiations and disposals do not necessarily refer to the same cases.


Contact

Email: Alasdair Anthony