The number of damages cases initiated continued its long-term downward trend
Small claims made up over half of damages cases in 2014-15
Nearly three-quarters of damages cases disposed in the Court of Session had a decree of absolvitor
Damages in Scotland
Damages are a legal remedy that provide compensation for harmful actions suffered through the fault of another party, either an individual or an organisation. A claim for damages can arise from all sorts of circumstances and include (but is not limited to): defamation, breach of contract, damage to moveable property, negligence, breach of warranty or guarantee, breach of trust, wrongful diligence, wrongful interdict, malicious prosecution, wrongful apprehension or false imprisonment or fraudulent representation and personal injury. For the purpose of these statistics, the definition for damages does not include personal injuries which are covered separately in the Personal injury section.
The purpose of a damages case is to provide a remedy by measuring, in financial terms, the harm suffered to restore an injured party, as far as practicable, to the position they were in beforehand. The court has responsibility for assessing the damage and agreeing or modifying the damages proposed by the pursuer as it sees fit. Generally, the court will award compensation for loss of business or income through a damaged reputation; or loss of property due to a breach of contract.
Damages cases made up 3 per cent of all civil court cases initiated in 2014-15.
There were 2,351 damages cases initiated in 2014-15, a decrease of 26 per cent compared to the previous year. This continues the long-term trend of decreasing numbers of damages cases, although the drop in 2014-15 was bigger than in any of the preceding years in this statistics series (Table 17). Compared to 2008-09, there were fewer than half as many cases raised using the small claims procedure. Despite this fall, small claims still accounted for 57 per cent of damages cases initiated 2014-15 (Figure 16).
Nearly half of small claim damages cases disposed were dismissed. The pattern of disposals for other damages cases was different, with absolvitor the most common disposal overall, particularly for cases in the Court of Session (Table 18).
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