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Civil Law Reform Bill

Volume 715: debated on Thursday 19 November 2009


My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Bridget Prentice) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In June 2009, the Government confirmed their intention to publish a draft Civil Law Reform Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny. I am today announcing that the Bill will be published in December and will include provisions:

to implement the reforms to the law of damages announced by the Ministry of Justice in July 2009;

to reform the law of succession so that where a person is disqualified by the forfeiture rule or refuses an inheritance by disclaimer his or her heirs are not disinherited;

to implement the reforms of the law relating to the calculation of interest on judgment debts and damages announced by the Ministry of Justice on 16 September 2008; and

to transfer the jurisdiction for appeals in barristers' disciplinary hearings to the High Court.

The draft Bill will not now include provisions to reform the law of limitation of actions. These provisions were based on a Law Commission report of 2001. But a recent consultation with key stakeholders has demonstrated that there are insufficient benefits and potentially large-scale costs associated with the reform. In addition, the courts have remedied some of the most significant difficulties with the law that the Law Commission identified, for example, in relation to the limitation aspects of child abuse cases. The limitation reforms will therefore not now be taken forward.