Kerry Underwood writes in regarding a little confusion over who makes the big decisions about civil litigation in the UK and what they’re actually trying to do with it
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I wonder if any of your readers can help me. I run a small law firm in Hertfordshire and I am not too good with keeping up with the news.
I know that the Chancellorships of the Exchequer and Lord have been combined which is why Mr Osborne now deals with the legal system.
The small claims limit in personal injury is going up to £5,000 so that lawyers can only get costs from the other side if the claim is over that amount. That is what Mr Osborne, Member of Parliament for Tatton, said in November but Lord Justice Briggs says we should scrap courts and lawyers for claims under £25,000.00. I can’t see which seat he represents in Parliament.
Maybe he took over Lord Justice Jackson’s constituency as he does not seem to have been elected to Parliament either. I would just like to know whether the limit is going to be £5,000 or £25,000 and whether I can represent clients and get costs from the other side, or represent clients and not get costs from the other side or whether I am going to be thrown out of the courts altogether.
Will I be able to get rid of all my insurance and qualifications and professional responsibilities and get paid for being a McKenzie Smart App Friend?
Also I am not sure how lawyers being replaced by Artificial Insemination helps. I am not great with technology and don’t want to get into the physical details but how does online Artificial Insemination for cases up to £25,000 work? Sounds as though McKenzie needs to become a bit more than a friend.
I have also heard that the Health Minister is bringing in fixed costs for clinical negligence cases but I can’t see whether that is for claims up to £25,000 or £250,000 or when that is coming in.
Apparently clients suffering certain injuries won’t be able to claim. But I don’t know what injuries those are, when this new rule is coming in, or how serious the injuries have to be before they can claim. Did I miss some statement by the Minister for Art, Fisheries and Canal Redevelopment dealing with this?
I am glad the Lord Chief Justice wants a 24-hour helpline, Occupational Health and counselling support for us lawyers, although I heard some idiot say that he wanted it for judges and not lawyers. That can’t be right! Lord Thomas will never get re-elected to Parliament with views like that! Not sure what constituency he represents.
I think that we should have a separate Government department dealing with all of this. Just throwing a few ideas out – a Lord Chancellors department, or a Ministry of Justice, or something like that, so that is can all be thought through.
Apparently there is some book about this by Monty Skew – an Essex boy I believe – but I can’t find it on Amazon. I think it is called the Law of Spirits.
Finally is it not time that the insurance companies had a say in all of this? I feel very sorry for them. They have to pay out on all of these claims and no one listens to them.
Confused of Hemel Hempstead
(Full name and address supplied)
Kerry Underwood is senior partner at Underwoods Solicitors