Can English solicitors take a Scottish medical negligence case?
The law is not the same in all parts of the UK. If your medical negligence injury occurs in Scotland, a Scottish solicitor should handle your claim.
Receiving negligent medical treatment in Scotland does not necessarily mean that you live in Scotland. You might be on business or visiting relatives at the time and have your home in another part of the United Kingdom. In this situation you may consider appointing a solicitor who is close to where you live because this is the most convenient option. However, this would not be a good idea. The procedure covering medical negligence claims differs depending on which part of the UK you are in. A solicitor qualified in English law usually is not qualified to take on a claim based on Scottish law, and vice versa.
Which jurisdiction applies to my medical negligence claim?
The United Kingdom operates under three separate legal systems, known as jurisdictions:
- England and Wales
- Northern Ireland.
The law relating to medical negligence is broadly similar across all three jurisdictions. However, the Court rules and procedures for making a claim are not.
The general rule is that claims should be made in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. In this instance, you would bring a claim under Scottish law.
Which solicitor should I appoint?
English solicitors are not qualified to represent you in the Scottish Courts. The same applies to Scottish solicitors relative to the Courts of England and Wales. In this instance, you should appoint a solicitor qualified in Scottish law to handle your claim.
What if my claim will be settled out of Court?
The majority of personal injury claims are settled by negotiation with no Court action required. In theory, an English solicitor could represent you during such negotiations.
However, an English solicitor is not able to take or even threaten Court action if the negotiations break down. This may reduce your bargaining power and harm your chances of settling the claim on the best possible terms.
How do I find a solicitor in the correct jurisdiction?
Many English solicitors have contacts in law firms in Scotland. The best advice is to contact a local solicitor who specialises in medical negligence claims. They will be able to locate a solicitor in a different jurisdiction if that is what is required.
Alternatively, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers can provide you with a list of personal injury lawyers who practice in Scotland. APIL provides accreditation for lawyers who specialise in particular fields such as medical negligence, so you can be sure of getting the right solicitor for your claim.
Can Quittance help?
Yes. Quittance are a national panel of local personal injury solicitors base throughout the UK - including Scotland. Our solicitors are all highly experienced and have agreed to our 'No Win No Fee Policy'. To speak to a lawyer about your claim call 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback online.