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All-Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court Holds First Civil Jury Trial

The new All-Scotland Personal Injury Court has seen the first civil jury trial in the Sheriff Court since their re-introduction.

Civil jury trials in the Sheriff Court were originally introduced in 1907 for certain types of court action but were abolished in 1980. In 2015 they were re-introduced with the creation of the Personal Injury Court, which sits is in Edinburgh Sheriff Court. This new court was among a raft of significant reforms that came into effect in September 2015, following the Scottish Civil Courts Review led by Lord Gill.

The court has jurisdiction in PI cases exceeding £5,000, workplace-related PI actions exceeding £1,000, and any workplace-related PI case under £1,000 remitted to the all-Scotland court by a sheriff. At the same time that the new court was established the exclusive competence of the Sheriff Court increased to £100,000.

Personal injury actions can still be lodged in local courts, but new rules were made to allow civil jury trials and to allow e-motions in the Sheriff Personal Injury Court.

The first civil jury trial in the PI Court was presided over by Sheriff Kathrine Mackie.

In the case the pursuer claimed damages for injuries suffered by her son while playing in his primary school playground.

Damages were agreed at £15,000 on full liability, and while it was admitted that the child had had an accident in which he suffered an injury to his leg, the local authority denied liability.

The jury returned a verdict in favour of the pursuer, but they found the child to have contributed to the accident to the extent of 96.5%.

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