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The Scottish Government has announced its intention to bring the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Act 2017 into force in October 2017.
Whilst the Bill became an Act of the Scottish Parliament following Royal Assent on 28 July 2017, regulations by Scottish Ministers were required to bring the provisions into force.
Once implemented, the Act will retrospectively abolish limitation in claims for personal injury, whether physical or psychological or both, caused by childhood abuse. The Act will remove the current three-year limitation period for personal injury actions in cases of child abuse where the person was under 18 at the time of the abuse.
The Act will only be of relevance to abuse which took place on or after 26 September 1964.
Alastair Ross of the Association of British Insurers has commented to us that:
"At the heart of this legislation are victims and survivors who have been abused. The insurance industry is keen to be part of a system which keeps any further pain and distress to a minimum. The ABI has expressed insurers' significant concerns on this legislation and the implications for insurers and their insureds who may now face claims dating as far back as 1964. These include the traceability of policies and legacy insurers, the verification of the details of historic claims, and the increased risk of claims in the future which may push up the cost of premiums. We believe the Scottish Government has significantly underestimated the level of claims which will come forward, and the cost implications especially for charities, third sector organisations and public bodies including local authorities."
The Scottish government has issued a guidance document for claimants http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0052/00523624.pdf
There is anecdotal evidence that some claimant firms have a large number of claims waiting in the wings. This obviously presents a concern for compensators particularly if these claims proceed to litigation at a pace.
Keoghs is well positioned to provide clients with further updates and advice, as David Pugh, Director of Disease Strategy explains:
“Keoghs has successfully helped insurers in legacy claims in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Furthermore, a dual-qualified specialist in our Glasgow office, dealt with a large volume of historical abuse claims (involving Group Litigation) in England, when insurers were faced with mass litigation. We are therefore uniquely placed to advise on any issues raised in the draft Bill”.
For more information please contact:
T: 0141 238 0067
T: 0141 238 0068