It seems that almost everyone you speak to intensely dislikes the sort of personal injury “no win, no fee” type of advertising we’ve seen a bucket load of over the last decade or more. This is because most people dislike the kinds of attitude we perceive it breeds in others; the compensation culture of always finding someone else to blame for any accident – and trying to profit from it.
But as with most things in life, there’s the flipside; the genuine hard done to people whose lives have been ruined by the negligence or carelessness of others and for whom it is right and proper that the law makes proper recompense.
A few years ago, Lord Young of Graffham’s review of this compensation culture and the industry’s often tremendously aggressive type of “no win – no fee” advertising” fired a warning shot across the bows of the industry. Then, from the 1st of April 2013, to try and slash its £2 billion yearly legal aid bill for England and Wales by around £350 million a year, the Government introduced the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act – or “LASPO”.
Amongst other things, the Act makes various personal injury claims changes which are very important to understand if you’re thinking about making any kind of claim in the future and/or if you’re in need of legal aid.
Legal aid is designed to assist people with the costs of legal advice who can’t afford it; paying for solicitors to advise people on legal problems and, where necessary, to represent those people in court.
The Act now reverses the position where legal aid was available in all civil cases (barring those excluded by the Access to Justice Act of 1999). As a result of LSPO, various cases no longer come within the scope of legal aid funding, whilst others only qualify when meeting certain criteria.
So the areas of civil law from which legal aid funding has now been withdrawn include private family law like divorce and child custody battles, immigration if a person isn’t detained, some housing, benefit and debt issues and some areas of employment and education law. But perhaps the most significant area excluded is that of personal injury and certain clinical negligence cases. This is an attack on the so-called “compensation culture” which will be welcomed by many.
But where does that leave you if you have a legitimate claim? In short, it shouldn’t matter. The law is designed to make it harder for bogus claims rather than exclude genuine ones. There are concerns that poorer people will lose out, but if your claim is genuine, seek expert advice. Remember; if your injury results form an accident that wasn’t your fault, you can still find out whether you have a reasonable claim. The reforms are aimed at cutting the numbers of personal injury claims and the legal aid bill – nit at excluding anyone from obtaining justice. You can read more up on this here http://www.blasermills.co.uk/.