Smith Sutcliffe Solicitors

Victims of negligence face further neglect under Government plans

The Government has recently stated its intention to introduce legislation to give effect to the report of Lord Justice Jackson.

Although the Jackson report made it clear that the proposals could not be 'cherry picked and that the provision of an effective legal aid system was a given', this appears to have been overlooked.

Perhaps most importantly the decision to say that those who are wronged and suffer loss must use the compensation awarded by the Courts to pay their costs, means that if the legislation is carried forward ordinary citizens will get less than they are entitled to.

This is an approach to spread joy in the hearts of our Insurance Companies and their shareholders.

Responding recently to Lord Justice Jackson’s review of litigation costs published last year, the Government announced plans to abolish claimant's right to recover the full costs of pursuing their claim.

Law Society President Linda Lee said this is abhorrent for those who have suffered genuine injury.

'The Ministry of Justice is about to implement a devastating attack on access to justice in the mistaken belief that ordinary people will be able to stick up for themselves against local and central government, the medical profession, landlords, big business and other authorities.

'Taken together with the Government's legal aid reforms, these plans on civil costs funding mean that ordinary people won't be able to obtain proper redress for the wrongs they have suffered.

“Jackson’s recommendations were a series of opinion-based views and did not rely on sufficient empirical evidence or properly conducted impact assessments.

“The Society is very surprised that the Government has bowed to pressure to reduce costs to the benefit of insurance companies at the expense of effective access to justice and without sufficient consideration of the unintended consequences which are likely to include increased costs on other areas of government.

“One of the proposed changes will also mean that many victims will now not make a claim.

“This will mean that the amounts recovered by the NHS for accident treatment and the Compensation Recovery Unit for benefits paid will significantly drop.

“Currently, these payments are recovered from insurers, but the burden will now fall upon the public purse.

“The Lord Chancellor wants to turn the clock back to the 1950s, a time before ordinary people gained the ability to exercise effectively their rights under the law.'

Simon Dakers, Litigation Team Leader at Smith Sutcliffe commented on the proposals and went further " There may be many cases where the costs involved in pursuing a justified, but relatively small claim may mean that the victim will actually receive nothing at all. There will be no incentive on Insurance Companies to settle a claim - at present the possible costs involved put pressure on Insurers to make a commercial decision about the extent to which the will fight a claim."

Our Litigation Team can advise on the likely success of a claim and assist you to pursue it if you have suffered injuries or loss as a result of an accident at work, in the street or on the road.

Contact us on 01282426251 or contact us via the website

31st May 2011, 10:59
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