Appeal judges have ruled Tommy Sheridan is entitled to interest at the judicial rate of 8% per year on the 200,000 damages he was awarded from the date of the jury’s verdict in 2006 until the principal sum was paid in 2017.
The Court Rules
After the expiry of 7 days, a pursuer is entitled to enrol a motion to apply the jury’s verdict. Had the motion been granted, the pursuer would have obtained a decree and would have been awarded damages. The interest would have run from the date of that decree at a judicial rate of 8%.
After the jury’s verdict, the Defenders enrolled a motion for a new trial. Until the further proceedings were determined, Mr Sheridan could not enrol a motion to obtain decree until the new trial was determined.
Whilst parties were waiting for a decision on the further proceedings, the defenders came across material which suggested Mr Sheridan had committed perjury during the civil trial. The civil action was therefore sisted pending criminal investigation and was not recalled until 17 September 2015. The motion for a new trial was refused on 19 August 2016 and a further appeal was refused on 3 November 2016.
The motion to apply the jury’s verdict was heard on 3 November 2017. On 8 March 2018, the Lord Ordinary applied the verdict but refused to award any interest on the damages.
The question for the Court was whether interest should be allowed on the damages awarded by the jury from the time when, but for the unsuccessful motion requiring further proceedings, interest would have been applied.
In allowing the appeal, the Court held:
- There is no rule at common law that interest is not payable on damages until the decree of the court of final appeal. Where there had been a quantification of damage at an earlier date, interest could run from that date.
- There was discretion to award interest from the date when a jury’s verdict could have applied.
- Interest should run at least from the date of quantification because it is from that date, if the Pursuer eventually wins, that he has been out of pocket.
- Delaying the application of the verdict, cannot disentitle a pursuer from being awarded the full rate of judicial interest. Even where the Defender’s had arguable grounds to pursue, the central feature should be whether the motion was successful.