Today (2 April) signals the end of the current no-win no-fee legal system for personal injury as new reforms come into effect that will deny injured people proper justice.
“No-win no-fee was introduced by the Government after legal aid was all but abolished for injury cases, to give the average man on the street a chance to use the legal system to right the wrongs done to him,” explained Karl Tonks, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
“But reforms which take effect from today, which are designed to save money for the guilty party who caused the injury, mean that the no-win no-fee option as we know it no longer exists,” said Karl.
Injured people will no longer be able to recover all the costs of a case from the negligent defendant responsible for the injury, so payment will have to come from an injured person’s compensation.
“This goes against the general principle of compensation claims, which is that the claimant should receive the right amount of money in compensation to return him to the position he was in before the injury occurred,” said Karl. “It switches the burden from the guilty party to the victim.”
Premiums for after-the-event insurance, which is used to insure claimants against the risk of losing, are also no longer recoverable from guilty parties or their insurance companies.
“Perfectly valid but complex claims can carry a greater risk of losing and, as a consequence, the premium can be expensive. Injured people will see a further reduction in their compensation to pay for it. In some cases it might not even be worth trying to bring a claim if it is not ‘cut and dry’.”
“When someone is negligent and causes suffering, he should be held to account. Pursuing justice should not be an additional burden on someone who is injured and simply looking to put his life back on track. Nobody asks to be injured, and now injured people are expected to cover the cost of pursuing redress,” he added.