LAW SOCIETY: PAUSE PASSGE OF LEGAL AID BILL

18 Oct, 2011

Law Society calls for pause in passage of Legal Aid Bill

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The UK’s Law Society has welcomed the Government’s decision to pass responsibility for the regulation of claims management companies to the Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke. The move follows a review by the Cabinet Secretary which identified potential for perceived conflicts of interest for Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly, due to his family involvement in claims management companies.

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The Law Society also called for a pause in the passage of the legislation currently before Parliament to ensure that it does not wreak havoc on access to justice. Despite the Cabinet Secretary’s findings, Mr Djanogly retains responsibility for steering the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill through the House of Commons, notwithstanding its impact on claims management companies and the insurance sector, the very financial interests identified in the Cabinet Secretary’s report.  

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Law Society Chief Executive, Desmond Hudson said: “It is important that political noise concerning the Minister’s perceived potential conflicts of interest should not distract attention from the vitally important task of improving the Bill.

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“The decision for the Cabinet Secretary to insulate the Minister from regulation of the claims management sector appeared to be a straightforward one. The Justice Secretary on the other hand has a bigger decision to make. Does he press on regardless with this substantially flawed legislation or does he take the opportunity for a pause to examine the evidence which indicates that, unless substantially amended, it will fail to deliver the hoped-for savings and may wreak havoc on access to justice for thousands each year.”  

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