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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NI discount rate: five weeks to submit evidence on the new Bill

As we reported last week, the Committee for Justice has today opened a new call for evidence (CE) seeking stakeholders’ views on the legislation designed to re-set the legal basis for the personal injury discount rate (PIDR), the Damages (Return on Investment) Bill. The terms of the six questions posed in the CE are clear and responses are due by 30 April 2021. Our views on the principles involved are unlikely to have changed since the pre-legislative consultation conducted last summer but the CE provides an important opportunity to make submissions on the points of detail involved in the new legal framework for setting the PIDR in Northern Ireland.

Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs
alistair.kinley@blmlaw.com

Two setbacks for any new discount rate in NI?

Yesterday the High Court in Belfast heard a judicial review challenge to the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) decision not to strike an interim personal injury discount rate (PIDR) while new legislation on rate-setting proceeds. Later that afternoon the Justice Committee discussed the timetable for the new legislation, as a result of which the Bill now looks unlikely to conclude before the year end.

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