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Contributory Negligence Discount of 96.5% in First Sheriff Court Jury Trial - Catriona Hepburn & John Wilson, Brodies LLP

28/05/17. Scotland’s County Court, the Sheriff Court, has recently seen the reintroduction of jury trials in civil cases. The 2015 legislation creating the specialised All-Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court (ASPIC) brought back the use of juries for the first time since 1980. The first trial implementing this new option was heard earlier this month.

The case involved a child who injured his leg in the playground. The accident and injury were admitted and damages were agreed at £15,000. However, the local authority contested liability – the claimant said the local authority was obliged to pay damages for the injuries sustained by her son. It was this issue which the jury had to consider.

Although they returned a verdict in favour of the claimant, the jury found that the child’s contributory negligence amounted to 96.5%. The claimant was accordingly awarded damages of just £525! It is not known whether or not there was a tender (Part 36 offer) in place but it certainly seems likely that there will have been an argument on costs after such an award...

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