VICTIMS of historic abuse whose legal bids for compensation have been thrown out on time grounds will be allowed to re-raise court claims under new laws set to go through Holyrood.

Ministers have confirmed the proposal to allow fresh actions for victims, whose cases have previously been dismissed, is part of plans to end a time limit for survivors of historical abuse to seek damages in the courts.

One of Scotland's leading litigators has said the move would spark "an avalanche of cases" against religious organisations, local authorities, charities and private individuals.

The move has also been welcomed by those who have campaigned for a lifting of the time bar in abuse cases.

The Government has recently concluded its consultation on the three year limitation period, or 'time-bar', on civil actions for damages for physical and sexual abuse survivors.

Launched last summer in tandem with a public inquiry into historical abuse, it will allow civil action claims to be made as far back as September 1964.

The current legislation states any action must begin "within three years of sustaining an injury or within three years of becoming aware of an injury".

Under the Prescription and Limitations Scotland Act 1973, anybody coming forward with historic allegations must otherwise do so within three years of their 16th birthday.

But it has emerged the proposed changes will also include providing victims whose claims have failed on time-bar grounds a second opportunity.

Leading solicitor Cameron Fyfe said: “I have been campaigning for the last 15 years to have the current time bar rules amended so I am delighted for the victims of abuse that this rule is to be changed.

"I think the Scottish Government accept that the existing rule may be appropriate in road traffic cases or accidents at work but not in abuse cases as victims often take many years to come to terms with their suffering.

"When the law is amended I would expect an avalanche of cases which will be even bigger if the Scottish Government also allow victims to re-raise court actions that were dismissed in the past on the grounds of time bar.”

A number of high-profile historic abuse cases have failed on time grounds, including two which were unsuccessfully appealed to the House of Lords.

Five Law Lords ruled in 2008 that two alleged victims of abuse by nuns at Nazareth House at Cardonald in Glasgow who were seeking £50,000 in compensation had left it too long to claim.

Two woman had claimed they were regularly assaulted and subjected to cruel punishments resulting in psychological or psychiatric illness which had caused them problems in their adult lives leading to financial loss. The religious order denied any abuse at the children's home, which no longer exists.

Around 1000 abuse victims saw their civil damages claims collapse after the two test cases failed.

Amongst those was Helen Holland, herself a former nun and survivor of horrific childhood abuse.

She said: "This is something I welcome as it's not been made clear at all if this was part of the proposed legislation. Some hoped it was, others believed it wasn't.

"In the past we couldn't get a lawyer to touch these cases it was so difficult to get the time bar lifted.

"I'm concerned there may be a two-tier system with those abused before 1964 but this eradicates that problem where people have already raised an action so we won;t have two tiers in that sense."

Opposing the changes is the Faculty of Advocates which has said the existing system provides "fairness to both parties".

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are currently considering the responses to our consultation on the issue of time bar and remain committed to sharing a draft Bill by the end of the Parliamentary Session, with a view to taking forward or supporting legislation in the next Scottish Parliament.

“The consultation included the issue of the position of people who have previously brought a civil case forward but were rejected on the basis of limitation.”