Lord Chancellor stands up for rights

The right of consumers of public and private services to stand on their legal rights got firm backing yesterday from the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, in a rebuttal of claims that Britain is adopting a United States-style litigation culture.

In an address on civil justice to the Consumers' Association in London, Lord Mackay said: "Judging from recent [press] articles ... you might think that suing for injury or to enforce rights is just part of a compensation culture in which citizens are encouraged in the infantile belief that all misfortunes are somebody else's fault." But what the civil law said was that people should keep their promises, he added. The comments follow widespread media suggestions that claimants are being unjustly enriched by turning to the law.