The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Association of British Insurers have agreed a new approach to the handling of personal injury cases in the Scottish courts under the current COVID-19 situation.
APIL and the ABI have agreed a position in relation to cases where limitation would possibly be an issue in the next few months. A schedule is attached setting out the basis of the agreement. This will be hosted on the ABI’s website www.abi.org.uk and APIL’s website https://www.apil.org.uk/files/scotland-response-to-covid-19-20200402.pdf together with a list of pursuer and defender parties which have signed up to the agreement.
The two representative bodies have agreed that parties should take a consensual approach in relation to time limits and not seek to take unfair advantage of a party not complying with a procedural requirement.
Gordon Dalyell, APIL President and a Partner at Digby Brown LLP said: “As is to be expected, the current COVID-19 crisis is affecting all aspects of commercial and administrative life. As lawyers working in the claims sphere, the current requirements for self-isolation; the non-availability of our own staff, together with our clients, counsel and experts; and restrictions on travel and contact with others, are all creating significant challenges.
“It is clear that it will not be possible to continue with ‘business as usual’ and we welcome the steps that have already been taken to mitigate the problems. The statements of policy from the Court of Session, Sheriff Appeal Court, and All-Scotland Personal Injury Court are appreciated. In particular, we welcome greater use of telephone facilities, the submission of electronic documents, and the use of written submissions, to avoid the need to attend court.”
Alastair Ross, Head of Public Policy for Scotland at the ABI said: “The current crisis requires all those involved in civil litigation to take account of the current circumstances in delivering upon the overriding objective. We expect parties and their representatives on both sides to take a responsible approach to personal injury litigation. Insurers will continue to see to settle claims where liability has been agreed as promptly as possible so that compensation awards can be paid.”
The Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham MSP said: “The Scottish Government is doing everything it can to ensure that the justice system continues to operate during the COVID-19 emergency. I am grateful to APIL and ABI for finding a new co-operative approach to maintain effective dispute resolution during these unprecedented times. We will continue to engage with justice stakeholders as they assess the implications of COVID-19 and update their contingency planning arrangements accordingly.”
Gordon and Alastair added: “We hope that the current crisis will be short-lived and that it will be possible to return to normal conditions as soon as possible. Until then we are committed to taking all steps to work effectively alongside the Scottish Court and Tribunal Service and the judiciary in maintaining effective dispute resolution.”
AGREEMENT ON LIMITATION
1. The Parties
The Parties to this Agreement are listed in Schedule 1.
For the purposes of sections 17 and 18 of the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 (“the 1973 Act”), in respect of any claim for damages for personal injuries which would otherwise “time bar” in accordance with the 1973 Act between 30 March 2020 and 20 April 2020 (“the limitation period”) no limitation defence will be raised by the parties in respect of said period.
Given the uncertainty of the present situation, and the potential for an extension of the limitation period, Parties are agreed that this Agreement will be reviewed no later than 13 April 2020.
Notes for Editors
For more information contact:
APIL’s communications manager Jane Hartwell on firstname.lastname@example.org
Alastair Ross for the ABI on email@example.com
The Association of British Insurers is the voice of the UK’s world leading insurance and long-term savings industry.
- A productive, inclusive and thriving sector, we are an industry that provides peace of mind to households and businesses across the UK and powers the growth of local and regional economies by enabling trade, risk taking, investment and innovation.
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More news and information from the ABI is available on our web site, www.abi.org.uk.
APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own. Visit the association's website at www.apil.org.uk