Civil justice statistics in Scotland: 2015-2016

Statistics on civil justice, which aims to resolve a range of disputes from debt and eviction to divorce.

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9. Damages

The number of damages cases continued its long-term decline in 2015-16

Small claims made up over half of damages cases initiated in 2015-16, and nearly half of those were dismissed

Over two-thirds of damages cases disposed of 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% of all civil court cases initiated in 2015-16 ( Table 18, Table 1).

Courts statistics

There were 2,296 damages cases initiated in 2015-16, a decrease of 2% compared to the previous year, continuing a long-term decline (-50% since 2008-09) ( Table 18). Small claims continued to account for a majority of damages cases in 2015-16 (54%), although that proportion has been decreasing since 2008-09 ( Figure 12).

45% of small claims damages cases disposed of were dismissed ( Table 19). The pattern of disposals for other damages cases was different, with absolvitor being the most common disposal overall, particularly for cases in the Court of Session.

Figure 12: Damages cases initiated in the civil courts

Figure 12: Damages cases initiated in the civil courts


Email: Jeremy Darot

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