Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sponsored guest post: No-Win No-Fee reforms ahead for England and Wales

In March this year Justice Secretary Ken Clarke set out the government’s plans to reform they way some legal cases are funded in England and Wales.  Saying that his reforms would restore “proportion and fairness” to the civil justice system, Mr Clarke gave details about an overhaul into No Win No Fee claim funding arrangements.

One of the main proposals in his statement to MPs was that success fees – the extra costs lawyers are awarded when they win a case – would now be deducted from the damages their client received, rather than being claimed separately by the successful solicitor from the defeated party.  To partially offset the impact that paying their lawyers fees out of their own damages will have on claimants, Mr Clarke also announced that there would be an uplift of 10% in compensation for general damages.

Explaining why he had decided to introduce the reforms, Mr Clarke said that he wanted to put an end to situations where defendants may feel they are forced into settling a case due to the costs of defending themselves.  Personal injury claim solicitors will be keeping a close eye on the reforms as there are concerns that the changes may make it more difficult for genuinely injured people to claim the compensation they deserve. 

In particular, having to pay legal costs out of their compensation settlement might mean that injured people are left out of pocket after their claim.  Although they may receive additional special damages to cover any medical treatment costs and lost earnings, they may still be left significantly worse-off when compared to the current system.  Many in the industry will be eagerly awaiting more detailed proposals and the results of a consultation looking at further reforms to the civil justice system.

Author: Neil Worrall

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