Read the call for evidence

Remit

The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee is seeking views on the Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 1 June 2017. The Bill aims to improve access to justice by creating a more accessible, affordable and equitable civil justice system. The Bill seeks to make the costs of civil court action more predictable, increase the funding options for pursuer of civil actions and introduce a greater level of equality to the funding relationship between pursuers and defenders in personal injury actions.

Read the Bill and accompanying documents.

Key issues

The Bill implements a number of recommendations of Sheriff Principal Taylor’s Review of the Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation, as well as some previously unimplemented recommendations from Lord Gill’s Scottish Civil Courts Review.

The Committee welcomes evidence on any aspect of the Bill. This could include views on any or all of the following issues:

1. Whether the Bill will achieve the policy aim of improving access to justice by creating a more accessible, affordable and equitable civil justice system.

2. The specific provisions in the Bill which:

(i) regulate success fee agreements (sometimes called ‘no win, no fee’ agreements) in personal injury and other civil actions, including by allowing for a cap on any fee payable under such agreements;

(ii) allow solicitors to enforce damages based agreements (a form of ‘no win, no fee’ agreement, where the fee is calculated as a percentage of the damages recovered);

(iii) introduce ‘qualified one way costs shifting’, which means that a pursuer who acts appropriately in bringing a personal injury action or appeal will not have to pay the defender’s legal expenses even if the action is unsuccessful;

(iv) give the courts the power to order that a payment be made to a charity where expenses are awarded to a party represented for free;

(v) require a party to disclose the identity of any third party funder and provide the courts with the power to award expenses against that third party;

(vi) make legal representatives personally liable for any costs caused by a serious breach of their duty to the court;

(vii) enable auditors (who are responsible for determining the amount of expenses due by one party in litigation to another) to become salaried posts within the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service; and

(viii) allow for the introduction of a group procedure in Scotland, which would enable people with similar claims to bring a joint action.

3. Any other matters relating to the Bill, such as any financial impacts or whether there are other provisions which should be included.

How to submit written evidence

Before making a submission, please read our policy on treatment of written evidence. In line with that policy, submissions will normally be published on our website. If you wish your evidence to be treated as confidential or published anonymously, please make this clear when submitting your evidence.

Written submission should be reasonably brief (preferably no more than 4-6 sides of A4) and should be typewritten in MS Word format.

The deadline for receipt of written submissions is Friday 18 August 2017.

Owing to the timescales normally required for the processing and analysis of evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the advance agreement of the clerk.

The Committee prefers to receive submissions electronically. These should be sent to: [email protected]

You may also send a hard copy of your written submission to:
Justice Committee
Scottish Parliament
Holyrood
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

We welcome written evidence in any language.

Further information

For further information about submitting evidence or the Committee’s work on the Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill please contact the clerks by email at [email protected] or by telephone on 0131 348 5047. 

 

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