The Government has stated its intention to introduce legislation to give effect to the report of Lord Justice Jackson.
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 too. This is an approach to spread joy in the hearts of our Insurance Companies and their shareholders.
Responding today 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.
“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.
“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.”
Currently, a successful litigant can expect to recover their reasonable legal costs in addition to the damages they are awarded.
Richard Lowes, a partner at BLB Solicitors commented “this will have a seriously detrimental effect upon claimants, particularly those with claims for future losses for such things as earnings, medical treatment or care.
“Claims for future loss are carefully calculated so that the claimant has sufficient funds to last them for the rest of their life, or to their retirement date in the case of lost earnings. Under these new proposals, a significant proportion of these damages will have to be used to pay legal costs, which are currently paid by the insurance company.
“Quite simply, this will lead to people running out of money and having to rely on the public purse.”