Coverage of this Consultation
20. The core focus of this consultation paper is Sheriff Principal Taylor's recommendations on Damages Based Agreements, Speculative Fee Agreements and Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting. These are the aspects of Sheriff Principal Taylor's report which require primary legislation to deliver and the Scottish Government has committed to take forward. The core recommendations in Lord Gill's review have already been taken forward in the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 but a commitment was given in the consultation on that Bill to take forward the recommendations on multi-party actions and auditor of court for consideration along with the Taylor reforms. The consultation paper covers these issues as well as a few outstanding matters relating to counsel's fees, conduct of legal representatives, legal aid for legal persons and funder of last resort. The consultation will inform draft legislation for consideration by the Scottish Parliament.
21. It should be noted, however, that this consultation does not seek to revisit all aspects of Sheriff Principal Taylor's and Lord Gill's detailed consideration of the various topics and the detailed consultation which took place in the context of their reports. Instead it is restricted to focussing on the following:
- whether the proposals will achieve the Scottish Government's overall aim of improving access to justice
- gathering information which will enable us to assess the impact and costs of implementing any of the proposals from the perspective of a range of interests
- points of detail which we have identified as likely to be of particular concern or particularly controversial
- the points identified in the Scottish Government's response to the Taylor Review as requiring further consideration in the context of primary legislation