The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) released the findings of independent research on 23 May 2011 which they say undermines the Government’s current proposals to restrict the use of Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) or “No Win, No Fee” Agreements.
APIL believe the proposed change in law would dramatically reduce access to justice.
The research, commissioned jointly by APIL and the Access to Justice Action Group (AJAG) calculates that around three million people have made a legal claim through the use of a CFA in the last five years. APIL believe the restrictions would mean the facility will cease to be an option for many claimants who would be unable to fund litigation in any other way.
APIL say the research showed that more than 50% of the people surveyed had an income below £25,000 per year and 82% below £40,000. 80% of those who used ‘no win no fee’ were satisfied with the system, and most cases were of relatively low value.
It is suggested that the research proves APIL’s previous claims that the present system is vital for those seeking access to justice for injuries suffered.
APIL’s chief executive Denise Kitchener said;
“Under the Government proposals for ‘no win, no fee’ a huge number of people will lose their right to the compensation to which they are entitled, and which they need and deserve, as they will not be able to afford the legal help they need to bring a claim.”
AJAG co-ordinator Andrew Dismore said:
“The Government must think again and not give in to the special pleading of the fat cat multinational insurance companies, who are the sole beneficiaries of their plans. They will save millions of pounds at the expense of ordinary people who have been hurt on the roads or at work. The Government’s plans are draconian and will end access to justice for the less well off. The system we have now works well and has huge satisfaction rates from those who use it.”
APIL and AJAG say they will now intensify their attempts to bring the impact of the proposals to the attention of parliament.