Access to Justice for vulnerable people has been closed off, says APIL

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The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has said that access to justice has been adversely affected by the Jackson reforms, leaving many vulnerable people without representation.

 

In a written response to the Civil Justice Council, which has called for input on the impact of the changes introduced by the LASPO Act last year, APIL said that many claimant law firms no longer run lower-value personal injury cases as they do make financial sense.

 

"Whilst it may be too early to see the full effects of these reforms on the injured person, APIL’s very early impressions are that there is detriment and cause for concern," wrote the association in its submission to the Council.

 

"Those with complex, riskier cases are being turned away by solicitors who advise that their cases are not financially viable to run. Equally lower value cases (abused dementia sufferers for example), may be told their cases are disproportionate to pursue," it added.

 

APIL said that the reforms of the justice system, and subsequent lower recoverable costs, has led many firms to pushing down work to the most junior fee earners to make sure that practices remain profitable.

 

"This reduces the quality of advice and service and this coupled with the increasing complexity of regulation and CPR produces an inherent conflict between a firm’s ability to stay profitable and their desire to provide a quality service for injured people," said the submission.

 

APIL also used some findings from a recent survey it had conducted to illustrate its points, saying that 94% of firms had indicated that they were no longer taking on motor claims valued between £1,000-£10,000 and that 98% had stopped taking on employers’ liability disease cases.

 

The association also warned that it was still too early to assess the full impacts of the reforms, which would only be revealed once all pre-LASPO cases had been settled.

 

 

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Marek Handzel

Marek Handzel is the editor of Claims Magazine. Marek welcomes articles, letters, or feedback from readers and can be reached by emailing marek.handzel@barkerbrooks.co.uk