Slater and Gordon backs Access to Justice

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Personal injury law firm Slater and Gordon Lawyers has renewed its support for the campaigning group, Access to Justice (A2J).

Confirming the move, Slater and Gordon CEO Ken Fowlie said A2J was making a major contribution to the campaign against the UK government’s personal injury reforms, and it was important that the group received backing from across the claimant sector.

Fowlie said: “Our industry cannot sit on its hands. We believe the delay to the Civil Liability Bill creates a golden opportunity to persuade the government that there is a better way to operate this market than their current proposals, which move the goalposts in favour of insurers and penalise injured people.”

The government measures will see those making motor-related personal injury claims worth up to £5,000 typically being unable to recoup the cost of any legal advice.

In addition, a new tariff system is proposed to provide compensation for pain and suffering at a level greatly reduced from the current position.

These two factors, when combined, will result in the vast majority of injured persons being unable to secure legal representation, according to Slater and Gordon.

Fowlie repeated his call for claimants and insurers to get around the table and work on a compromise deal that would guarantee rights of redress, but reduce the number of frivolous claims.

He said: “I firmly believe that cash-strapped and time poor Ministry of Justice ministers would far rather the industry came up with its own workable solution that avoids the need for legislation.”

“A2J is the only representative body with compromise proposals [the Alternative Claims Framework or ACF], and the ACF deserves to be given a proper airing. Slater and Gordon would be more than happy to work with all sides to help secure the future of our sector and access to justice for our clients.”

Martin Coyne, chair of A2J, added: “We are delighted with this endorsement from Slater and Gordon and hope their commitment will encourage other law firms to come forward.”

“This is a long-term campaign for high stakes, but we are gaining supporters in Parliament who share our concern that 600,000 people injured each year could be denied their rights for the sake of a £35 car insurance saving that will never materialise.”

In October, Simon Stanfield, chairman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), warned the government that it must not allow “one sided debate” and “misguided objectives” to influence the pending Civil Liability Bill.

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