4. Recent civil legislation changes
The Home Owner and Debtor Protection (Scotland) Act 2010 came into force on 30 September 2010. This Act included a change to the way that repossession cases relating to mortgages and loans related to residential property are raised in court - these are now being raised as summary applications. Previously, nearly all court actions for repossession were made under ordinary cause procedure.
The statistics for court actions relating to repossessions are also affected by the UK Supreme Court judgment in the RBS v Wilson case, issued on 24 November 2010. This resulted in all repossession cases being withdrawn from the courts and resubmitted as summary applications following the completion of the two month waiting period required by the judgment. These changes are reflected in the civil law statistics which show a drop to almost zero in the number of ordinary cause - ordinary procedure repossession cases and a corresponding rise in the number of summary application repossession cases. More information on the effect of these changes on civil law statistics is available from Civil Law Statistics in Scotland 2011-12.
The statistics for asbestos-related pleural plaques in 2008-09 were affected by the impact of a House of Lords decision in October 2007, which upheld a majority decision of the Court of Appeal in England (and which was not binding on the courts of Scotland) that the existence of pleural plaques did not constitute actionable damage. Prior to this decision, individuals had been able to bring claims for compensation for pleural plaques since the 1980s.
The subsequent increase in asbestos-related pleural plaques 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 and related conditions to raise a court case for personal injury. There have been relatively few disposals of these cases, as many were sisted (suspended) pending the UK Supreme Court's decision as regards a petition challenging the validity of the legislation which was lodged on behalf of a consortium of insurers. That challenge was successfully defended in the Court of Session Outer House, the Court of Session Inner House and the Supreme Court in January 2010, April 2011 and October 2011 respectively.
Email: Howard Hooper