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Government Announcement ‘A Bleak Day For Access To Justice’
Irwin Mitchell Statement On Reforms
Commenting on the announcement made by Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke on civil justice reforms, Andrew Tucker, head of Personal Injury for Irwin Mitchell, said; “This is a bleak day for access to justice in Britain and a double whammy for the consumer.
"The Government's proposals will force consumers - irrespective of their means - to pay some of their legal fees even if they win and will deter them from bringing perfectly legitimate claims. At the same time, it is slashing the legal aid budget so the public will effectively lose out twice. This is even more extraordinary when the level of claims is falling and the people who will suffer the most are the most seriously injured - those who should be able to rely on the law for help, irrespective of their means.
“The Government has focused disproportionately on concerns about the cost to defendants and has not given appropriate weight to the interests of consumers or to their ability to access the justice that they need. Our own research shows that just under half of people (47%) would not bring a valid claim for compensation if they thought that they would have to pay some of the legal costs. The proposals favour the defendant over the consumer and are a serious backward step.”