31 May 2013

Scottish lawyers warn government over PI system

Personal injury lawyers in Scotland have claimed that courts will not be able to cope with the deluge of cases expected to hit if government proposals are given the green light.

By James Barnes

Lawyers make noise over court proposals

According to The Herald Scotland, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has backed the Law Society Council of Scotland in raising concerns over plans that would make it easier and cheaper to make some claims.
The APIL warned court closures and plans to move thousands of cases from the Court of Session will cause delays and pressure in the sheriff courts.


Improvements including investment in court staff, technology and procedures are badly needed if the system is to work, they claimed.
The government aims to cut the legal costs of bringing a claim by two-thirds, with the bill for a three-day hearing likely to fall from around £30,000 to about £10,000.
APIL's Scottish representative, Gordon Dalyell, said the planned changes are ‘an extremely ambitious programme of reform for the civil courts in Scotland, which will mean that, in the future, almost all personal injury cases will have to go through the sheriff courts rather than the Court of Session’.

Influx of cases

Mr Dalyell added: ‘If the new system is going to work, it will need an overhaul in its procedures, it will need a review of staffing, from specialist sheriffs to clerks and administrative staff, and it will need an overhaul in its technology to ensure it can cope with the huge influx of cases expected.’

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