Government scraps plans to extend access to justice

As the debate rages on over implementing the civil litigation cost cutting measures known as the Jackson reforms, the Government has recently scrapped its plans to grant an extension to incoming access of justice provisions over and above personal injury claims.

Earlier this month, the Government issued a confirmation that the proposed ‘qualified one-way costs shifting’ beyond claims in personal injury compensation claims had been rejected, a casualty of a Parliamentary debate over the new bill.  Designed to offer a measure of protection to those Brits with limited means making accident claims the QOCS provision bars low income earners from having to foot the legal bill for the opposing side in the event that their claim is unsuccessful, and the new Legal Aid bill contains language for its implementation in personal injury claims.

The Government had entered into consideration for an extension this costs protection over and beyond personal injury compensation cases, which raised the possibility that unsuccessful claimants in the libel or professional negligence legal sectors could gain the protection as well.  The move was one of the reforms proposed by Lord Justice Jackson in his report to reform civil litigation costs, which he submitted in 2010 and which has been adopted by and large by the Legal Aid bill.

The broader reform efforts will enforce limitations in the current civil litigation model, that currently sees losers paying massive insurance costs and so-called ‘success fees,’ in order to shift the responsibility to successful claimants by having them pay these legal fees out of their compensation awards.

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