Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
A not-for-profit organisation representing injured people

Peers vote for legal aid at inquests

01 Apr 2022
APIL news

Peers have flexed their political muscles on legal aid for bereaved families at inquests.

Yesterday the House of Lords voted by 136 to 112 for an amendment to the Judicial Review and Courts Bill to allow publicly-funded legal representation for bereaved people at inquests where public bodies have legal representation.

“This is huge progress in a very long-running campaign by APIL and many organisations who work with people who have lost loved ones in the most distressing circumstances,” said Neil McKinley, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

“The bereaved family can have a very important part to play in ensuring an inquest reaches an accurate and fair conclusion. It is also important for them to hear, first hand, what happened, which can be a critical factor in helping them to find closure and ultimately to try to move forward with their lives,” Mr McKinley explained.

“Such involvement, however, comes at a price, and it is a price that many bereaved families cannot afford to pay. If the other participants of an inquest have their help funded by the public purse, the bereft relatives certainly should too in a fair and caring society. 

“It’s not over yet, as the Government is still against allowing families to access legal aid in these circumstances. But today we now know that there is a sizeable group of parliamentarians who see that the current system is grossly unfair,” he went on.

The Bill is due to return to the House of Commons on 21 April, where MPs will debate the amendment and vote on whether to agree with the House of Lords.

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Notes to editors:

  • Members of the House of Lords voted in favour of an amendment to the Judicial Review and Courts Bill – amendment 25 ‘publicly funded legal representation for bereaved people at inquests’ https://votes.parliament.uk/Votes/Lords/Division/2774
  • See APIL chief executive Mike Benner’s latest blog on the Bill: https://www.apil.org.uk/blog/inquests-legal-aid-we-need-peers-to-flex-their-political-muscles-again)
  • The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) is a not-for-profit campaign group which has been committed to injured people for more than 30 years. Our vision is of a society without needless injury but, when people are injured, they receive the justice they need to rebuild their lives.  We have more than 3,200 members who are committed to supporting the association’s aims, and all are signed up to APIL’s code of conduct and consumer charter.  Membership comprises mostly solicitors, along with barristers, legal executives, paralegals and some academics.
  • For more information contact APIL's communications manager Jane Hartwell on t: 07541 490988, e: [email protected].
  • Follow @APIL on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APIL.

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E-scooter injuries: “I am not happy being a statistic” , 27 Jun 2022
Doncaster lawyer campaigns for injured people, 18 May 2022
London barrister campaigns for injured people, 12 May 2022
New additions to APIL, 11 May 2022
Proposed NHS scheme ‘completely unacceptable’, 28 Apr 2022
Costs reforms "unfair" to injured patients, 25 Apr 2022
NI now fairest in UK for people with life-changing injuries, 22 Mar 2022
"Disproportionate" whiplash plans dropped, 22 Mar 2022

More past press releases

Head of Public Affairs
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Jane Hartwell
0115 943 5416
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Press & Communications Assistant
Asher Mayers-Thompson
0115 943 5431
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