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The children are messing with the matches again!!
Today is a sad day for access to justice.
When is election day?
A truly massive court fees hike takes effect today. Now, if an injured claimant wishes to bring a claim for a sum in excess of 200,000 pounds he or she will have to survive the mental shock of the Government selling access to the courts for a court issue fee of 10,000 pounds. Last year that fee would have been, after several significant annual fees hikes, about 1720 pounds. Can you imagine any non-monopoly service industry hiking its fees by 581% for a service a mere shadow of what it used to be in those heady days of the 1980's when there were helpful court counter staff to assist the rare litigant in person? Now there are hundreds of litigants in person ( thanks to the killing off of legal aid) and no one there to assist in spite of the large court fee pocketed by the treasury. The excuse the Ministry of Justice uses is that the courts must be self funding. Why? Are hospitals self funding? Are the Houses of Parliament self funding? Shall we charge political parties for every debate they hold on new legislation in the Palace of Westminster?
When again is election day?
The second change is more whimsical. The SARAH Act comes into force today. The much heralded and completely ridiculous Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015 makes it harder to sue rescuers who botch up a rescue through negligence; and how much of a problem was that, I hear you ask, as if litigation lawyers up and down our land were chomping at the bit to sue that next incompetent have-a-go hero! I can tell you! That problem was just about as a rare as common sense in a politician. This legislation brings in a half baked solution to a problem which did not exist. We can all rest peacefully in our beds knowing this law is finally on the statute books.
Tell me, when is election day?
Thirdly, there is section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 which allows a court discretion to dismiss the whole of a personal injury claim if there is any fundamental dishonesty on the part of the claimant. Now, most personal injury claims are brought by no win no fee solicitors who do not wish to act for a dishonest claimant in the first place. There are already enough adverse costs consequences in the system to deal with almost all cases of dishonesty. But the new solution may well catch out a claimant who, when applying his mind to future losses, takes an overly optimisitic outlook as to what his losses are, which is unjustified on the evidence. Is that a case of fundamental dishonesty? What if a claimant thinks he is telling the truth but is just mistaken? If these are cases of fundamental dishonesty, the whole of the claim can be dismissed even if a defendant has admitted liability. Another unnecessary solution for a make believe problem.
When is election day?
So, let us face some painful facts - if you are a person who is injured and is thinking about bringing a claim, or you are a human being and may at some future point suffer an injury and, if you do, wish to claim damages for redress where you can ... here's an unpleasant truth - the Goverment hates you!!
Until election day!
Latest News Articles
Stephen Brookes, Assessor of the Personal Injury Panel of the Law Society, looks at the recent decision in Crawley v Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council Read More
The long running saga concerning the entitlement of an estranged adult child cut out of a deceased's parent's will is finally resolved, writes Donna Riley of Salmons Solicitors. Read More
The Government is still deluding itself in thinking that denial of access to justice will cause insurance premiums to fall. Read the full report here - Read More
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers calls for a complete ban on nuisance calls about accident claims
APIL have issued recently a press release to try and persuade the Government to put an outright ban on intimidating cold callers pestering members of the public to make accident claims for accidents which they have never had. Read More
The Government's plans to prevent irritating claims being brought against their friends in the insurance industry continue to attract criticism. Read More
Stephen Brookes reviews two cycling injury cases making the legal headlines recently Read More
Stephen Brookes looks at two personal injury cases on either side of the fence; in the former case the claimant won but in the latter case the claimant failed. Read More
If ever there was a minefield in the application of applicable rules it is in the area of discrimination law. Stephen Brookes reviews the recent case of Griffiths v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions ( 2015) Read More
A recent case on the duty of swimming pool lifeguards confirms 1999 guidance Read More
Since April 2015 the Court has had power to strike out a claim for personal injury compensation if a claimant has been fundamentally dishonest - but what does this mean? Read More
Supreme Court decision changes the meaning of an unlawful penalty charge in contract law - Beavis v Parking Eye reviewed Read More
Working time might now include travel to and from the first and the last job for employees who are based at home. Read More
Following the decision of Salmons Solicitors to withdraw from all legal aid work upon the grounds of unsustainable remuneration levels, there is increasing pressure for criminal defence legal practices. Read More
Stephen Brookes reviews the latest attempts by the Coalition Government to make the legal claims process unworkable. Read More
Stephen Brookes reviews two recent personal injury claims where the claimants both failed. Read More
There can be few more fun pursuits than taking your off roader into difficult and challenging off road terrain, but before you do so, a cautionary word about a recent change of insurance law, writes Stephen Brookes. Read More
Stephen Brookes reviews the recent case of Bear Scotland Ltd v Fulton on the inclusion of overtime into holiday pay calculations. Read More
Stephen Brookes reviews the decision of the Supreme Court in Coventry and Lawrence (2014) Read More
Stephen Brookes reviews two recent cases dealing with the question of when an employer can be liable for injuries inflicted by a member of the workforce on another person Read More
Farah Gilani reviews a January 2014 case involving a prosecution over an unguarded piece of machinery. Read More
Stephen Brookes reviews a recent case involving an injury compensation claim brought by one friend against another arising out of the use of loaned leisure equipment. Read More
Nick Mason looks at the risk from not using a traditional high street law firm offering a quality managed service Read More