Limitation as a matter for the applicable law: latest decision

In cross-border litigation, the Rome II Regulation – which still applies in the UK, although now as “retained EU law” – provides that the applicable law shall govern matters such as liability and quantum as well as “the manner in which an obligation may be extinguished and rules of prescription and limitation, including rules relating to the commencement, interruption and suspension of a period of prescription or limitation” (article 15(h) of the Regulation).

How this works where the limitation process or period also includes requirements about service – which is generally regarded as procedural and something for the law of the forum (ie the court with jurisdiction) rather than for the substantive applicable law – was examined recently in Johnson v Berentzen, a road traffic claim pursued in England by an English resident claimant against a German resident defendant and relating to an accident in Scotland.

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Self-driving lane-keeping systems to go live on UK roads

Following a consultation last year on authorising ALKS – Automated Lane Keeping Systems – the DfT today announced that these in-car systems will be authorised for road use by the end of 2021. ALKS is designed for ‘driverless’ motorway journeys at moderate speed and despite its ‘A’ standing for Automated, there is genuine debate over whether the technology satisfies the stringent definition of “a vehicle driving itself” as set out in the Automated & Electric Vehicles Act (AEVA) 2018 which came into force just last week (21 April).

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Out of COVID-19 lockdown and into new territory? QOCS is still coming to Scotland…

By Scottish Ministerial order, Qualified One-way Costs Shifting (QOCS) is to apply to Scottish personal injury claims – including disease claims and fatality claims – litigated from 30 June 2021. To recap, QOCS is a departure from the usual ‘loser pays’ approach to legal costs and expenses. The guiding principles of QOCS are (i) promoting access to justice in these types of case by generally protecting losing pursuers (hence ‘one way’) from having to meet successful defenders’ costs and (ii) at the same time enabling the removal of that protection in limited specific circumstances (hence ‘qualified’).

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