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Judges Propose New Rules on Compensation in Jury Trials

Juries in Scottish Civil damages cases, such as personal injury actions, will now be given guidance as to the appropriate level of compensation. The change follows a ruling of the Inner House of the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest civil court. The case was an appeal against ‘excessive’ compensation awards. In one case, a young girl had lost her mother in a road accident and was awarded £120,000. In the other, a father was awarded £90,000 following the death of his son in an accident at work.

Arguments in the case revolved around the gap between awards made by judges and those made by juries. In general, awards made by juries are higher than those made by judges. The court accepted the argument that this gap is unjustifiably wide, and could result in vastly different awards in similar cases, depending on whether the case was heard before a jury or not.

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