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Civil Law Reform Bill

Volume 521: debated on Monday 10 January 2011

The Government have decided not to proceed with the proposed Civil Law Reform Bill, which was published for pre-legislative scrutiny and public consultation in December 2009. The Government are grateful to the Justice Committee for its scrutiny of the draft Bill and to everyone who replied to the consultation for their comments, but in the present financial situation we need to focus our resources on delivering our key priorities.

Several of the provisions in the Civil Law Reform Bill were derived from Law Commission reports. The damages provisions were derived from the following reports published in the late 1990s: “Claims for Wrongful Death” (Law Com No 263); “Damages for Personal Injury: Medical, Nursing and Other Expenses; Collateral Benefits” (Law Com No 262); and “Aggravated, Exemplary and Restitutionary Damages” (Law Com No 247). The provisions relating to interest derived in part from the Commission’s 2004 report “Pre-judgment Interest on Debts and Damages” (Law Com No 295). These reforms will not now be taken forward.

I have today placed in the Libraries of both Houses copies of my letter to the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Sir Alan Beith), Chairman of the Justice Committee, informing him of the Government’s decision, and the response document to the consultation.