The Taylor Review has finally been published. Prepared by Sheriff James Taylor, It is the Scottish equivalent of the Jackson review and has come to many of the same conclusions as the UK study.
It seems that Qualified One Way Costs Shifting and Damages Based Agreements are the way forward for civil litigation, in order to address the 'David and Goliath relationship' (their words not mine) of a claimant and an insurance company.
Interestingly, these conclusions were come to even despite the marked difference in claims figures for north of the border. The Scots make one twenty-forth the number of claims even though they only one tenth of the population of England and Wales. So Sheriff Taylor concludes - there is no compensation culture in Scotland.
Whoa there Sheriff. Just a cotton picking minute. First, the 'compensation culture' is not a fact but a phrase dreamed up by The Mail and other media. Claims figures in England and Wales have been on a downward trend for a few years. Second, there are of course lies, damned lies and statistics. You can't just compare one tenth of the population and say therefore one twenty-fourth of the number of claims means less tendency to claim. You have to look at things like land mass, population density and yes, you guessed it - the number of accidents. The proper calculation would be the number of claims made divided by the number of accidents x 100. This would give us the percentage of people who, having a valid claim, actually went on to make it.
Did you know that Scotland is 60% the size of England (79,000 sq km -v- 129,000 sq km) - with just 5 million people compared with England's 50 million. So yes, Scotland has one tenth of the population but they are spread out a lot more. If they are spread out, they are less likely to come into contact with each other (I mean literally) so of course there are going to be less accidents. I suspect when you take population density into account, the Scots may in fact be more likely to make a claim than those in the South.
And so what about After the Event Insurance Policies - what is happening to those in Scotland? Well - the simple answer is nothing. Scotland always operated a different system to England and Wales and ATE Policies have never been recoverable from the defendant - so they are going to stay that way.
McJackson though is on the way. Looks like the Civil procedure rules will soon be pretty much the same North and South - just in time for Scotland's devolution.
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