More cases and strain on courts if time-bar removed, Faculty believes

18 Jan


An increase in the number of complicated cases, with “resource implications” for the courts, is likely to result from the removal of a time-bar in historical childhood abuse actions, the Faculty has suggested.

The Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill seeks to exempt cases of historical childhood abuse from the general three-year period within which a personal injury action must be raised.

The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee has sought views on key issues in the Bill, and it asked about the impact of the exemption on victims, those who might be sued, and the courts.

“It is likely that there will be an increase in the number of court actions. These actions are likely to be complicated and to involve evidential difficulties. These features generate resource implications for the courts,” said the Faculty.

“As far as individuals involved in such cases are concerned…litigation is inherently stressful, with this subject matter being particularly so. Significant emotional impact on those raising actions, and on any surviving individuals against whom allegations are made, appears inevitable.”

The Faculty said it was “an important safeguard” in the Bill that the court could dismiss a case if the defender demonstrated that it would not be possible for a fair hearing to take place, or that the defender would be subject to substantial prejudice if the case did proceed.

“We would suggest that there might be clarification as to…which factors it is intended should be taken into account…”added the Faculty.

The response is here