Court Reform (Scotland) Bill - Civil Justice the preserve of the elite and wealthy?

April 14th 2014

The Scottish Government is undertaking a major process of reform to the system which allows citizens access to civil justice. It is estimated that the bill in its current form will disproportionately affect 60% of individual workers

pursuing cases in court actions, to the benefit of bad employers, big business and insurers, by denying them the right to be represented and have their cases heard by the sort of specialists who will defend cases for employers and insurers. STUC call for amendments to incorporate the following into the bill as fairness dictates the need for equality of arms:

1. In all work related cases worth in excess of £5,000 a presumption in favour of sanction for Counsel to represent the pursuer's interest in their court action.

2. All work related cases, of any value, be capable of being raised within the proposed new specialist personal injury court.

3. All non work related cases involving personal injury with a value less than £5,000, have specialist personal injury rules applied when heard before a summary sheriff.

Without these necessary protections, the attack on workers rights, which has already resulted from the Westminster government's removal of automatic civil liability for a breach of Health and Safety legislation means the scales of justice will be tipped even more heavily in favour of defending employers or insurers. The Scottish government need to prevent an injustice resulting from the windfall which will be afforded to those who injure with impunity.

Today we are running a twitter campaign to raise awareness of this civil injustice and to call on government to make these simple changes to the bill to preserve the long established protection of employees from the imbalance of power in the work environment. Join us in sending a clear message to the Scottish government that we will continue in our fight to preserve access to civil justice for ordinary workers and citizens.

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