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Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 Section 11(3)- Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption

By SLAS Spokesperson

The Justice Department of the Scottish Executive has issued a Paper on the implications of the UK Government acceding to the Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption. One aspect which would have to be addressed would be that some amendments would be necessary to the law of prescription and limitation in Scotland. In particular, Section 11(3) of the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973 provides that where a pursuer is not and could not reasonably have been aware that loss caused by an act of neglect or default had occurred, the time limit for making the claim runs from the date on which he or she first becomes, or could with reasonable diligence have become aware that loss caused in this way has been sustained. Article 7 of the Convention, however, states that the time limits run from the date when a victim of corruption becomes or could reasonably have become aware of that damage had occurred or that an act of corruption had taken place and of the identity of the responsible person.

The addition of the requirement of knowledge of the identity of the perpetrator would be a new requirement in Scotland. In the past the Scottish Law Commission has favoured this approach in general in relation to all actions for reparation, but the Convention clearly covers only the situation where corruption is involved.

?Corruption? is defined in the Convention as, ? requesting, offering, giving or accepting directly or indirectly, a bribe or any other undue advantage or prospect thereof, which distorts the proper performance of any duty or behaviour required of the recipient of the bribe, the undue advantage or prospect thereof?

The Court and Legal Aid Committee of SLAS is looking at this.

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