No fee wins few of m'learned friends
Sunday 19 October 1997
Ministers believe the reforms, which affect England and Wales, will open up access to the courts to middle income earners who currently do not qualify for legal aid, but at the same time can not afford to take on potentially expensive litigation.
But consumer and legal groups renewed their opposition to the plans, set out by Lord Irvine at the Law Society's annual conference in Cardiff, insisting that the proposed extension of the conditional or "no-win, no- fee" scheme for most money or damages claims should run in tandem with legal aid, not replace it.
They argue that access to justice for the poorest in society, including children with legal claims, will be severely reduced.
While Lord Irvine's speech to the solicitors conference was received with restrained applause, some in the audience found certain of his remarks hard to credit from a Labour Lord Chancellor.
"I am willing to consider any arguments made to me, but I will always test them against the principle that legal aid exists only to remedy an imbalance between the poor and those who are better off, not to put the poor in a privileged position," he said.
He noted the opposition from barristers to his reforms, which will transfer the risks of litigation to lawyers. "Barristers are, of course, reared in a culture that they are paid, win, lose or draw. For them it would be a culture shock to be paid only if they win."
But Robert Owen QC, chairman of the Bar Council, warned that lawyers would increasingly take on only sure-fire cases or exaggerate the risks of others.
The Lord Chancellor also failed to answer the main criticism of introducing "no-win no- fee" on a wide scale without legal aid as a safety net. Under a conditional fee system litigants must still take out insurance premiums to cover their opponents' costs if they lose. They must also find the money to pay for up front "disbursements", such as medical and other experts' reports and court fees.
- 1 Ashya King missing: Police hunt five-year-old boy with brain tumour snatched from Southampton hospital by his parents
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
- 5 Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Ashya King missing: Police hunt five-year-old boy with brain tumour snatched from Southampton hospital by his parents
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
Californian drought is so severe it's 'causing the ground to move'
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...
£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...