One industry body of personal injury solicitors has recently responded to the possibility of the government cutting funding to civil litigation and legal aid.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers stated that restricting no win no fee payment arrangements and cutting legal aid would lead to the loss of access to justice for those who need it the most.
President of APIL, Muiris Lyons, stated that the industry body does not support the recommendations made by Lord Justice Jackson on conditional fee arrangements in his report to the government. The APIL president added that the report suffers from being out-of-date, as it does not take into account new processes that have been integrated into the way personal injury claims are dealt with currently.
There were two points of contention with the primary proposal on conditional fee arrangements, states the industry body. The first of these is that accident solicitors will not be as able to offer such an arrangement to someone who has a meritorious yet complex and difficult to win claim. The second issue that APIL has is that the most seriously injured of claimants may end up losing money from any compensation awards due to the possibility of having to pay a portion of their awards to cover legal costs.
Mr Lyons also stated that a large proportion of the most gravely injured victims may be barred from getting justice because the no win no fee regime cannot serve them properly, nor would they find legal aid accessible. The APIL president called such an eventuality unjust, unfair, and completely unnecessary.
The personal injury law industry body has instead proposed its own plan to counteract any legal aid cuts or conditional fee arrangement limitations currently being considered by the government. The APIL proposal has a five-point plan in which it is demonstrated how costs may be cut without any restrictions to access of justice.