Personal Injury Specialist Sheriffs Appointed

Six sheriffs have been appointed as specialists who will sit in Scotland’s new Sheriff Personal Injury Court.

Sheriff Paul Arthurson QC, Sheriff Peter Braid, Sheriff Gordon Liddle, Sheriff Kathrine Mackie, Sheriff Kenneth McGowan and Sheriff Fiona Reith QC have been designated by Sheriff Principal Mhairi Stephen QC, the Sheriff Principal of Lothian and Borders, as specialists in actions of damages for personal injury. 

The creation of the all-Scotland jurisdiction PI court, to be known as the Sheriff Personal Injury Court and located at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, is among a raft of significant reforms which will come into effect at the beginning of the new legal year on 22 September 2015. 

The court will have 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 the sheriff. Concurrently with the establishment of the court the exclusive competence of the Sheriff Court will increase to £100,000. 

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

The designation of the specialist sheriffs follows a direction from the Lord President under section 34 of the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, determining that actions of damages for, or arising from, personal injuries or the death of a person from personal injuries are a category of case that is considered to be suited to being dealt with by sheriffs that specialise in that category of case. 

The creation of the new court is one of a several changes to the civil courts and civil procedure of Scotland which will take effect on 22 September 2015. 

These include: the creation of the new Sheriff Appeal Court at first with appellate  jurisdiction in  summary criminal cases including bail appeals and from next year with jurisdiction also in civil cases; an extension to exclusive competence of all sheriff courts to actions with a value of up to £100,000; the introduction of a three-month time limit and a requirement for permission in judicial reviews; a requirement for permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court; and new provisions for remits between courts and procedures.