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An Update From North of the Border: Scottish Courts Continue to Take an Increasingly Strict Approach - Charlotte Edgar, Brodies LLP

22/02/17. The Update this month focuses on two decisions that show that Scottish courts continue to take an increasingly strict approach. The first considers a refusal to set aside a default judgement; and very much serves as a warning to insurers and other large organisations. The latter deals with pre-litigation admissions, in the context of extending the period of limitation. The position looks to be quite different to the position in England & Wales, where my experience is that extensions are more common.

Scottish Court Refuses to Set Aside Default Judgment

It is fair to say that Scotland’s Sheriffs – led by the specialist Sheriffs of the All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court – are becoming more and more in their interpretation of the court rules. It seems that they are never stricter than when one or other party is in default, and the recent decision of A&B Taxis Ltd v The Co-Operative Insurance has the potential to make it very difficult for defenders to successfully recall a decree, or judgement, awarded as a result of their failure to enter appearance.

On 10 February, Sheriff Wood of Perth Sheriff Court handed down a decision in the case of A&B Taxis Ltd; and it makes for tough reading for defender solicitors and their instructing insurers. Sheriff Wood refused to recall a decree for over £18,500, awarded costs on an increased scale in favour of the pursuers and was scathing of the defenders’ inadequate systems for dealing with litigation.

The Sheriff’s decision was based, primarily, on...

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