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New Personal Injury Rules – September 2012

Whilst Personal Injury Rules have operated successfully in both the Court of Session and Sheriff Court for several years for higher value claims, new rules have been introduced affecting personal injury claims with a value of less than £5,000 with effect from 1 September 2012.

Before now, these small value claims were unduly more complicated than they should have been and given the rules which applied, there was often uncertainty as to how parties should proceed.

Effectively, there is now a uniform approach to all personal injury claims, irrespective of value.  Lord Coulsfield first introduced the rules within the Court of Session in April 2003 and the success of same has been apparent ever since.  A Court timetable will be issued for these small value claims. 

Principally, the time table creates certainty for parties involved and a swifter and more efficient program for the judicial process and any evidential hearing (Proof) to come before a Sheriff.

One minor element of caution relates to the halting or delaying of such Court proceedings.  Prior to the Coulsfield Review, it was not uncommon for Court actions to be put on hold to allow parties to better prepare themselves.  Any sist will now only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

The prevailing view appears to be that since personal injury claims must generally be raised within three years of the incident (there are some exceptions) parties ought to have plenty time to prepare their cases during that period.  It may be argued that this gives some advantage to Pursuers rather than Defenders but given the success of these rules, generally, over the past decade, this latest introduction of summary cause personal injury rules is to be welcomed

For more information, please contact Martin Sinclair.

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