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Civil Law Reform Bill

Volume 715: debated on Tuesday 15 December 2009


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

In accordance with the Government’s legislative programme for 2009-10, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice has today laid before Parliament the draft Civil Law Reform Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny (Civil Law Reform—A Draft Bill Cm 7773).

The draft Bill contains provisions to:

reform the law of damages to provide a fairer and more modern system, particularly in relation to bereavement and dependency damages under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976;

give greater flexibility in setting the interest rate on pre-judgment debt and damages and on judgment debts so that it can be adapted more readily to different circumstances, making it fairer to debtors and creditors alike;

reform the law relating to the distribution of estates of a deceased person where an inheritance is forfeited or disclaimed, so that where a person is disqualified or refuses an inheritance, his or her heirs are not disinherited; and

bring the disciplinary hearing appeal process for barristers into line with the appeal process for solicitors by transferring the jurisdiction to hear appeals to the High Court

To accompany the Command Paper the Ministry of Justice has today published a consultation paper Civil Law Reform—a draft Bill containing the draft Bill, the accompanying Explanatory Notes and the impact assessments relating to the reform. The consultation period will close on 9 February 2010.