The lack of discussion time for the no win no fee proposals in the Legal Aid bill currently working its way through has drawn the ire of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, according to legal industry insiders familiar with the issue.
APIL chief executive, Deborah Evans, remarked that those who need to make personal injury compensation claims need more than 20 minutes’ worth of discussion time to decide their fate, as the new proposals could result in cutting genuine claimants off from their access to justice. Only about two per cent of parliamentary time was spent during the reporting stage on what kind of impact altering the rules would have on claimants, Ms Evans added, calling the disregard for the injured ‘an utter disgrace.’
The House of Commons debated the proposals last week with an aim towards changing the no win, no fee claims system to one that would see claimants pay their lawyers out of their damages awards. The APIL feels that this could unfairly reduce the compensation amounts of too many innocent injury victims, said Ms Evans. Another result could be that many complex and serious cases could risk not being brought at all, with the chief executive stating that people with serious and debilitating injuries from asbestos-related disease or medical blunders might never be able to secure the damages they need so desperately under these proposed changes.
There are very serious, thoroughly justified, and widespread concerns about the bill making its way through Parliament, Ms Evans also said. She expressed her extreme concern that Parliament is not giving the proposals the proper levels of consideration about how the changes could impact vulnerable individuals.