A major report on the cost of civil legal action in Scotland has blazed a trail for fair play in the courts for injured people.
“The popular approach to personal injury cases throughout the UK seems to be to try to drive victims out of the courts and price people out of bringing genuine cases,” said Gordon Dalyell, spokesman for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) in Scotland.
“But this report by Sheriff Principal James Taylor turns that approach on its head by putting access to justice and victims’ rights first.”
Mr Dalyell particularly welcomed the report’s recognition of the difficulties experienced by injured people. It notes that ‘in personal injury litigation the relationship of pursuer to defender is generally an asymmetric one. Defenders, generally insurers, public bodies and/or employers, are often ‘repeat players’ and invariably have legal representation. They are ready and able to invest significant resources in defending the litigation...This places pursuers of modest means at a clear disadvantage.’
“By suggesting that, in many respects, the cases brought by injured people should be treated differently from other types of case, the report will help to dispel many of the myths which bedevil the process of claiming compensation for injuries,” said Mr Dalyell.
“Furthermore, while Sheriff Principal Taylor clearly referred to changes introduced to civil litigation in England and Wales in his review, he has acknowledged the differences within the Scottish system and made recommendations which should enhance access to justice for injured people in Scotland.”