Debbie Milne | Partner and Solicitor Advocate

The Swings and Roundabouts of Civil Jury Trials

Groucho Marx once said “I was married by a Judge. I should have asked for a jury”.

The All-Scotland Personal Injury Court has now heard the first civil jury trial to take place in the Sheriff Court since their re-introduction in 2015.

Civil jury trials in the Sheriff Court were introduced in 1907 but were abolished in 1980. They were re-introduced in 2015 with the creation of the All Scotland Personal Injury Court (ASPIC), which sits in Edinburgh Sheriff Court. The first civil jury trial in ASPIC was presided over by Sheriff Mackie.

The pursuer claimed damages for injuries suffered by her son while playing in his primary school playground. Damages were agreed at £15,000 if full liability was established. The defender admitted that the child had had an accident in which he suffered an injury to his leg but denied liability.

Although the jury returned a verdict in favour of the pursuer they found the child to have contributed to the accident to the extent of 96.5%. Therefore the Pursuer would only receive £525 for her son’s claim.

Personal injury solicitors have always been conscious of the unpredictable nature of jury trials. This case certainly highlights that unpredictability. In a case where it appears from the decision the jury felt the child was almost exclusively at fault they still did not completely exonerate the local authority.

If you consider that you may have a personal injury claim caused by the negligence of another party then please get in touch with our specialist team on 0333 222 1855 or Contact us online and we will be only too happy to guide you through the process.

Debbie Milne

Debbie Milne

Personal Injury Team

“The best part of my job is achieving a result that makes the client happy. That might be getting a good result for an insurer, it might be recovering a sum in damages that makes a difference to a person’s life, it might even be simply achieving an acknowledgement that the other party was at fault.” 

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