Insidious legislation and ‘Orwellian double-speak’ will come under fire from APIL’s incoming president Jonathan Wheeler when he addresses the organisation’s annual conference in Newport this week.
The Criminal Justice and Courts Act is singled out for criticism for its one-sided,draconian treatment of claimants who are considered to be ‘fundamentally dishonest’.
“What about defendants who pursue ‘fundamentally dishonest’ defences? Who say they haven’t got crucial documents to disclose when they have? Who defend a claim for child abuse against a priest by claiming that, at the age of 15, my client consented to being raped by a 61-year-old man of the cloth? Is this an honest defence?” he will ask.
“How about the defendant who purposefully sets out to delay a settlement brought on behalf of a terminally ill claimant, because it would be cheaper to pay out on the claim when they are dead…Why aren't such defendant practices also caught by legislation?”
Mr Wheeler will also highlight ongoing concerns that recent hikes in court fees are “a tax on clients’ misery”.
“Where’s the principle in that?” he will ask. “That is increasing the cost of litigation. The Government call these ‘enhanced court fees’. Enhanced means‘improved’! What kind of Orwellian double-speak is being used here?”
Delegates will also be challenged to seek out and embrace change where change can make the system more efficient, and to raise the bar on quality of service. “The SRA has dictated that we no longer need to record compulsory CPD hours. As a profession, that must not mean we should relax standards…we should raise them!”
Notes to editors
Jonathan Wheeler will deliver his speech to the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’25th anniversary conference at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, on Thursday 23 April. Copies of the speech will be available from the APIL office after 2pm on Thursday.
· APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) is a not-for-profit organisation whose members are dedicated to campaigning for improvements in the law to help people who are injured or become ill through no fault of their own.
· For more information contact APIL’s assistant press and communications officer Ben Yates on t: 0115 943 5431, e: firstname.lastname@example.org.