The Access to Justice Action Group is fighting for the rights of people who will be unable to claim their rights if the Government gets its way.
Perhaps the easiest way to explain what the government plans are, is that it is Robin Hood in reverse. Whereas before ordinary people would have “equality of arms” in the courts through “no win, no fee” agreements when taking on large well funded insurance companies or big business they will now be instantly priced out of the legal system, unless they take on serious personal financial risks.
We believe that everyone should have adequate access to justice, including a lawyer of their choice to help them win their case with the security of a “no win, no fee agreement”, so they do not face prohibitive legal bills.
On the one hand, “no win, no fee” agreements give certainty and protection to those who claim for an injury or loss they have suffered, which is someone else’s fault. If it is not someone else’s fault then the claim will not succeed.
On the other, they ensure lawyers can take more challenging cases: they compensate for the difficult ones that they lose or extensively investigate and take no further. Without these “swings and roundabouts”, cases which require more effort to win would not be taken.
No Win, No Fee is not just for personal injury. It is used extensively for small business litigation for example, and by those in the developing world bringing cases against UK companies for breach of human rights or environmental damage. It is also used for judicial review.
We believe the changes the Government are proposing will especially mean catastrophe for injured claimants, stopping victims of serious accidents, industrial disease, clinical negligence and other accidents from bringing cases; and others will see any compensation dramatically reduced.
All this is unnecessary. There is a better way of achieving the Government’s objectives of:
- ensuring legal costs are reduced
- claimants have more say in the funding of their cases
- and the expenses in bringing cases are underwritten, whilst at the same time preserving access to justice.
AJAG has come up with some radical new ideas which are set out in other pages of this website. Or you can download our most up to date response to the proposals here.
Take a look around, read what other people are saying in “latest news”, and protest to your MP about the Government’s plans.