PREPOSTEROUS OR PRACTICAL? PROPOSALS TO SCRAP "NO-WIN NO-FEE" CLAIMS
It is important to understand both sides of the argument, to be the diplomat; I guess this is one of the main attributes we take from Law School. To fully understand the current overall perspective of No-win, No-fee services I have chosen to compare two contrasting articles. Ms Modlock (Sarah Modlock "No-win, no-fees services to be restricted"; Interactive Investor; 23rd March 2011) takes an opposed view to the No-win, No-fee 'culture' and Mr Dismore ("Claimants will suffer if government scrap No-win, No-fee"; The Guardian; 1 March 2011) a rather realistic approach. I can however agree for points on both sides and both make valid arguments.
From the outset Mr Dismore uses the tragic accident of Sophie Harrison to highlight the importance of such No-win, No-fee claims services. Mr and Mrs Harrison lost their daughter to a horrific car accident. Had they not have been able to access such a service they would have incurred severe debts to pay for funeral expenses. This stresses the significance of access to mere compensation; they will not ever see their daughter again, however, the alleviation of the burden of debt can at least make life easier.
He discusses that relying on the "compensation culture" myth, the government proposes to end the insurance policies that protect claimants from no-win-no-fee agreements by expecting a costs contribution of 25% of the compensation.
The most relevant factor Mr. Dismore discusses is the fact that NHS and Local authority cuts would result in more negligence claims. To stop the backlog getting worse, the government intends to cut the number of civil court cases by 50,000. Justice will not be served to all.
Ms Modlock concentrates on the remarks of Lord Young which called for restriction on advertising for no-win, no-fee compensation claims and a revolution in the way personal injury claims are handled.
In contrast to Mr Dismore's comments regarding increased potential claims, Ms Modlock states that the public sector, especially councils and the NHS, have been particularly vulnerable and often opt to settle a case rather than risk the expense of losing. She concentrates on the fact that these sectors are deemed compensation victims when in fact the accidents happening should not be and therefore every claim is a valid claim.
It is also ironic that she chooses to use the statement of Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health at the Association of British Insurers. I would have thought an insurance company would be opposed to such services in any circumstances? He stated said the chancellor's promise to implement in full Lord Young's recommendations was welcome.
Whilst taking regard to Lord Young's recommendations, I believe that although not all claims may be legitimate, surely we must protect every legitimate claim. In a society so in keeping with Human Rights and welfare surely every individual is entitled to representation?