Sunday, September 18th, 2016

Peter Allan v Plexus Corp (UK) Limited [2016] SC EDIN 59; 2016 G.W.D. 28-502

This is the first reported decision in respect of a motion for jury trial from the All Scotland Personal Injury Court (ASPIC).  Prior to the passing of the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014, civil jury trials did not exist in the Sheriff Court.  The 2014 Act changed that, introducing them in relation to actions proceeding in ASPIC.  Section 63 of the 2014 Act provides that a pursuer is entitled to trial by jury unless parties agree otherwise or special cause is shown.  The section mirrors the provisions in relation to actions in the Court of Session.

In this case, the defenders opposed the pursuer’s motion for jury trial arguing that special cause existed.  The court considered a long line of authority from the Court of Session on the question of what amounts to special cause.  The defenders accepted the principles established by the authorities but submitted that special cause existed in this case because the nature of the injury rendered the assessment of solatium difficult and the application of the Ogden Tables to pension loss, loss of wages and provision of future prosthetics would involve particular complexity.  Taken together, it was argued that these factors established special cause. 

Sheriff Braid held that while the case overall was one of moderate complexity, it was nonetheless one which was within the province of a properly directed jury and neither the number of issues nor their nature was such as to render the case unsuitable for a jury and he granted the pursuer’s motion.

The pursuer was represented by Charles Lugton and the defenders by Kate Bennett, both of Compass Chambers. A copy of the decision can be found here.

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