Group condemns Jackson report

Lord Justice Jackson’s proposals to reform civil litigation costs are “misleading and inconsistent with a fundamental principle of civil justice”, an independent panel of law academics has said.

The Working Group on Civil Litigation Costs concluded that that there would be “an adverse impact upon access to justice” if the recommendations were implemented by the government.

A Ministry of Justice consult­ation on implementing the Jackson proposals (see Health and Safety News Spring 2010) ended in February.

The working group panel, which included Ken Oliphant of Bristol University, Keith Ewing of Kings College London and David Howarth from Cambridge, who was the Liberal Democrats’ shadow justice secretary until stepping down as an MP at the last election, said that the proposals would reduce the availability of legal services to injured people, while benefitting defendants in personal injury claims.

“In our view, implementing the core changes proposed by the Jackson Report creates a serious risk that claimants with genuine grievances will not be able to find a lawyer willing to take their case, especially claimants whose cases might need to go to trial,” the report On a slippery slope – a response to the Jackson Report says.

It also warns that health and safety will suffer.

“Ultimately, if injured persons are induced not to sue, or end up with lower damages because of less effective representation or the weakness of their bargaining position, this will negatively impact on health and safety because the legal sanction for causing injury unlawfully will be reduced.”

Thompsons Solicitors supported the report financially but had no editorial control.

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