Unlike England & Wales, where pre-action protocols are widely used, Scotland currently has no compulsory pre-action protocols. However, that could be about to change as part of the programme of reform set out in the Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill. The Bill, which completed Stage 1 on 21 May 2014, proposes the power to introduce compulsory pre-action protocols.
Use of the voluntary protocols: an information gathering exercise
There are currently four pre‐action protocols in Scotland covering:
- Personal injury claims up to £10,000 (parties may agree to use it for higher value claims);
- Professional negligence claims up to £20,000 (parties may agree to use it for claims of a higher value);
- Industrial disease claims; and
- Commercial actions in the Court of Session
The Scottish Civil Justice Council (SCJC) is the body with responsibility for drafting court rules and for making recommendations on the civil justice system in Scotland. The SCJC’s Personal Injury Committee has launched an information gathering exercise to explore the current use of the pre-action protocols. As compliance with the commercial action protocol is expected, the focus of the consultation exercise is the personal injury, professional negligence and industrial disease protocols. The responses will assist the SCJC to reach a view on draft rules on pre-action protocols.
Responding to the SCJC exercise
You can view the consultation here. Responses are invited by 30 June 2014.