Will no win no fee be commonplace in personal injury cases?

Proposals from Lord Young’s report on health and safety were leaked to the press over the weekend and this has caused concern amongst personal injury solicitors. It is thought that the report will be officially launched at next month’s Conservative party conference.

Leaked information published by the Daily Telegraph stated that ‘good samaritan’ rescuers and members of the emergency services will not be subject to personal injury claims unless there is proof of reckless disregard. And schools will not be liable for injuries sustained by children when on school trips or during sporting activities.

Introducing immunity for some people and organisations would be a retrograde step, according to Stuart Henderson of Irwin Mitchell. It is rare for a personal injury compensation case to be brought against the emergency services but if a member of the police force is driving to quickly in pursuit of a criminal and he mounts the pavement and knocks down a child, he should not have immunity from being sued, he added.

There are also concerns over conditional fee arrangements. Lord Justice Jackson is currently conducting a review of conditional fee arrangements and some people worry that they may be abolished completely. Whilst reforming the system would lead to significant cost savings, abolishing CFAs completely would mean some serious cases may not come before the courts.

Jackson’s review will also contain recommendations concerning damages-based agreements. DBAs are no win no fee arrangements whereby solicitors receive a percentage of the awarded damages. They are currently commonplace in employment tribunal cases but as yet are not permitted in court litigation.

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