Retreat on changes to legal aid scheme
Thursday 26 February 1998
Lord Irvine of Lairg was due to have published his proposals yesterday, but they were held back because they would have clashed with announcements on access to the countryside and lifelong learning.
It had been expected that Lord Irvine would propose the abolition of legal aid for all civil damage claims, effectively abolishing legal aid and replacing it with a "no-win, no-fee" system.
But Labour sources believe that controversial plan has been watered down, with no-win, no-fee restricted initially to personal injury claims - with a view to seeing how that worked.
That was being seen at Westminster as a device to shelve and quietly bury the more radical proposals initially favoured by the Lord Chancellor. "It means goodbye to all that," said one Labour source.
There will be no doubt in the mind of Lord Irvine's critics that his recent problems over his Whitehall "empire building"; his clashes with other departmental ministers, like Jack Straw, the Home Secretary; and the adverse publicity he has been getting over the redecoration of his official residence, have all weakened his bargaining hand over legal aid reform.
"Derry does not want a great fight on his hands at this time," said one friend last night.
"He does not want to be portrayed as the man who took legal aid away from poor people, spending it all on his wallpaper instead."
Lord Irvine's consultation paper will also include proposals to accelerate civil actions.
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Russian hack of President Obama's emails worse than previously admitted
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow to replace sun as arctic air mass moves in
Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should convert and not rebuild their 'pagan shrines'
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They pride themselves that they...
£19000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This pharmacy group are looking...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This design and print company a...
£38000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...