Head and Spinal injuries hit furtherJuly 11, 2011
The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) has mounted a High Court challenge to controversial Government plans to reform No Win No Fee agreements, saying Ministers have failed to consider properly the devastating impact its proposals could have on disabled people.
Ministers’ reforms of the No Win No Fee system – or Conditional Fee Arrangements – include plans to force victims to pay some of their legal fees even if they win, rather than the defendant having to pay, following recommendations from senior judge Lord Justice Jackson.
But the SIA, which is being supported in its action by other victims groups including brain injury charity Headway and Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA), has now lodged an application for Judicial Review of the Government’s planned reforms of Civil Justice which could see the plans having to be re-drawn if it is successful.
Queries are being raised as to whether the Government’s actions are lawful.
It is alleged that:
• The Government failed to carry out proper assessments of how its proposals would affect disabled people
• The time between the consultation closing and Mr Clarke issuing a response in the House of Commons was insufficient
• That the Government ignored the high level of opposition to its plans, with as many as 75% of respondents objecting to some measures, including senior judges
• That ministers did not take sufficient note of arguments that its plans would hinder access to justice.
Raquel is an Associate Solicitor and heads up the firm’s Spinal Injuries department.