While Lord Young’s recently published report is filled with recommendations on ways to mitigate the fear of litigation that seems to permeate the business landscape in the UK, his efforts may reduce the number of people who have access to justice for their personal injury claims, one expert states.
The October 15th report, which was entitled “Common Sense, Common Safety,” is comprised of many recommended actions to take to reduce the appeal of filing overly litigious accident claims in an effort to mitigate the costs of civil litigation in the UK.
Managing partner of injury solicitors First Personal Injury holds the belief that if the suggestions Lord Young makes were to be adopted, the result will be a restriction of judicial access. Mr Jefferies feels that the proposed reforms would be unfavourable to firms such as his own, which would result in not only running them out of business but also in accident victims not gaining the personal injury compensation in which they are entitled.
While Lord Justice Jackson has made the recommendation that lawyer success fees, that are currently paid by the losing party in any lawsuit, should be paid by the client instead. Lord Jackson suggested that raising the client damages by 10 per cent would make such a change possible.
However Mr Jefferies feels that the amounts clients receive will decrease sharply from current levels if that success fee is paid by the client’s settlement figure. Mr Jefferies expressed concern that clients may run short of funds, resulting in a reduction of their standard of living or a lack of money to pay for medical care, if they are not given their full compensation amount. The entire point of the law, Mr Jefferies also stated, is that in personal injury or medical negligence cases the party found to be liable lifts them back up to a pre-negligence position.