Law Society responds to Taylor Review of expenses and funding of civil litigation in Scotland
Responding to the Taylor Review, published today (Wednesday, 11 September), which contains proposals for changing the costs and funding of cases raised in civil courts, Kim Leslie, Convener of the Law Society of Scotland's Civil Justice Committee, said: "Injured people will have improved access to justice in Scotland's civil courts, as a result of these proposals.
"Qualified one way costs shifting - where injured people no longer face the possibility of significant adverse costs if their case is unsuccessful - will significantly improve access to justice in personal injury cases. The recommendation does acknowledge the need to build in safeguards to protect the system from abuse.
"Some of the recommendations made in the Taylor Review mirror changes which were recently made south of the border, such as damage-based or contingency fee agreements. These are agreements under which a solicitor's fee is calculated as a percentage of their client's damages if their case is won, but no fee is payable if it is lost. We will actively investigate whether these recommendations have resulted in significant improvements, and what lessons can be learned in relation to Scotland.
"We are however pleased to see proposals in the Taylor Review that take into account Scotland's unique civil courts structure and propose solutions that will complement Scotland's legal system.
"The idea of solicitors paying referral fees to non-solicitors would be a fundamental change for Scotland, and one which could have far-reaching implications into other areas of practice. However, we live in a changing world and with the prospect of legal firms going into business with other regulated professionals, the time is right to look at the question of sharing fees."
The full Taylor Review can be found here
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Media please contact Suzy Powell on 0131 476 8115.
11 September 2013