Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 25 Sept 2012:
Edinburgh will soon be the home of a new, specialised court just for personal injury claims – and personal injury lawyers are tripping over each other to praise the new move.
Specialist sheriffs will staff the new one-of-a-kind court, with cases from every nook and cranny of Scotland being decided there – a move that experts say will make it not just quicker to be awarded personal injury compensation but incur less in legal costs as well.
Personal injury solicitors say that the new move is an important ‘step in the right direction’ in order to make sure judgments are reached fairly, especially in instances that could lead to new precedent being set, which could have a quite discernible effect on similar personal injury claims in the future. Having a specialist court will lead to correct decisions made by skilled judges that are experienced in personal injury matters, said law partner Patrick McGuire, who added that wrong decisions made in injury claims cases could have a serious, deleterious effect on many, especially since employers could get the wrong message and attempt to cut corners on their health and safety efforts.
The new court system was recommended by Lord Gill, in his review of Scotland’s civil courts that was undertaken in 2009. Lord Gill felt that moving personal injury cases to a sheriff court instead of having them dealt with by the Court of Session would result in quicker turnaround and much less expensive court costs.
The new proposals had been accepted almost universally by solicitors and legal experts from all over Scotland. In fact, the only objections were from trade unions, who often find themselves embroiled in injury claims on behalf of their members; however, as long as sheriffs that had specialised skills and experience in dealing with trade unions, the switch was a welcome one indeed.
The details of the new court, such as the frequency of it sitting or how many sheriffs will be required, have yet to be sorted. It is thought that the court will sit in Parliament House in Edinburgh, though no final decision has yet been made.