APIL’s new president has commended members for the results they achieve for victims of negligence, despite “significant pressures” on the civil justice system.
“You are literally changing people’s lives for the better,” said Sheffield-based Jonathan Scarsbrook, a partner at Irwin Mitchell, as he made his inaugural address at APIL’s annual general meeting today (Wednesday 10 May).
“You do an amazing job despite the system we have to work within,” he said, citing court backlogs, closures, a shortage of judges, and “constant legal reform”.
“APIL is as relevant, as necessary, and as important as it has been at any time in its history,” he said. “There is such a volume and scale of change facing us that we need an organisation which will continue to fight for what is right.”
Jonathan looked ahead to further challenges on the horizon, including the potential for a dual or multiple discount rate and the extension of fixed recoverable costs due in October.
“I, like many of you, have been pouring over the draft rules recently published by the Ministry of Justice and Civil Procedure Rule Committee.
“I fully expect some poor behaviours to arise as a result of the rules as they are drafted. APIL will not hesitate to call these out as and when needed,” Jonathan said.
“What will and will not fall into fixed costs is ambiguous.
“APIL has already written to the Ministry and the Rule Committee seeking clarification…ahead of the implementation,” he said.
The new president also highlighted APIL’s campaigns for positive change, including the Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign which aims to put injured people at the heart of policymaking.
“We have and will continue with those long running campaigns of ours; that more should be done about cold calling and the need for an updated approach to bereavement damages which reflects our modern society,” he added.
“We are certainly proud of the work we do and will continue to do to fight for these rights and you too should all take great pride in the results you get for your clients every single day.”