Apology and Liability

THe Apologies(Scotland) Act 2016: An Innovative Opportunity in the 21st century or an unnecessary development?

In a rather rare turn of events, a Bill in the Scottish Parliament has received near unanimous cross-party
support. The result was that on the 19 January 2016 Holyrood enthusiastically agreed to the passing of
the Apologies (Scotland) Act 2016. The Act provides that an apology does not amount to an admission of
liability and is inadmissible as evidence in certain legal proceedings. Legislating on apologies is not a
new phenomenon as liberal legal systems throughout the English-speaking world have quietly and effectively
enacted apologies legislation in an attempt to make the civil justice system more accessible, affordable
and effective and to promote the early and effective resolution of disputes by removing the concerns about
the legal impact of an apology. These developments had, until the proposal of the Apologies (Scotland)
Bill some four years ago, gone largely unnoticed in the UK. This paper aims to ask whether this new Act
represents a vital step towards a more understanding and equitable system for dispute resolution in
Scotland or if it is, in fact, an unnecessary development that will ultimately harm deserving applicants.
This paper will then conclude by asking whether similar legislation should be enacted in England and
Wales.

citation:

(2016) 2  Journal of Personal Injury Law  79

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