Committee calls for views on the Prescription (Scotland) Bill

07.03.2018

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee has today launched a call for evidence as part of its Stage 1 consideration of the Prescription (Scotland) Bill. The Bill implements the legislative recommendations contained in the Scottish Law Commission’s Report on Prescription published in July 2017.

That report made recommendations to address a number of issues within the law of negative prescription. Negative prescription establishes a time-limit within which a person who is aggrieved must raise their claim in court. If the time-limit is missed, the ability to pursue the claim is lost, because the right or obligation is extinguished once the prescriptive period has expired.

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Graham Simpson MSP, Committee Convener:

"This bill deals with an important area of law. The doctrine of prescription serves a vital function in the civil justice system. A key issue within the law of prescription is the treatment of claims for damages such as in the Morrison v ICL Plastics case, which related to the explosion at the Stockline factory.

“Essentially, prescription is about striking a balance between one person's right and another person's obligation.

“Our committee wants to hear views on the Bill before Parliament considers changing the law."

The Committee is keen to hear from a wide range of people and organisations. The deadline for submitting written evidence is 6pm on Wednesday 4 April 2018.

Background Notes

The Bill was introduced in the Parliament on 8 February 2018 by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP. It implements the legislative recommendations contained in the Scottish Law Commission’s (“SLC”) Report on Prescription (SLC No 247; July 2017) although some minor provisions concerned with the topic of forfeiture are not included. The SLC agreed that these provisions could be removed from the Bill.

The SLC Report made recommendations to address a number of issues within the law of negative prescription, which have caused or could cause difficulty in practice, and to increase the clarity, certainty and fairness of provisions. The Bill therefore makes several technical amendments to the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 (“the 1973 Act), in relation to negative prescription only.

Organisations and individuals are invited to submit written evidence to the Committee setting out their views on the provisions of the Bill.

Those submitting evidence should feel free to address any, or all, of the policy issues contained in the Bill. A copy of the Bill, and its accompanying documents, are available on the Scottish Parliament’s website.

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