Thursday 4 December 2008

'No win, No fee' study finished and being considered says Ministry of Justice

A study of the controversial 'no win, no fee' arrangements in libel and other cases in England and Wales by three academics has been completed and is now being considered, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “In June the Ministry of Justice commissioned a scoping study into the operation of no win, no fee. The study will provide an objective assessment of these arrangements and consider the extent to which they are meeting the access to justice needs of the public. The scoping study was completed in October and we are currently considering the report to determine the next steps”.
The 'no win, no fee' arrangements (also known as Conditional Fee Arrangements) are controversial because lawyers can charge an 'uplift' in their costs if they win, inflating the costs for the press in even simple libel cases. If the press wins they often have little likelihood of recovering their costs.
Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre, said in his speech at the Society of Editors last month, that Justice Secretary Jack Straw would in "the next few months unveil proposals to reform CFAs" and suggested that their fees could be capped. He was scathing about their impact and highlighted a case in which the Mail on Sunday was last year ordered to pay Labour MP Martyn Jones damages of £5,000 after alleging he had sworn at a Commons official. The MoS faced a legal bill of £388,000 from the MP's lawyers plus its own costs of £136,000. Dacre said: "Today newspapers, even wealthy ones like the Mail, think long and hard before contesting actions even if they know they are in the right for fear of the ruinous financial implications. For the local press such actions are now, almost certainly, out of the question. Instead they stump up some cash to settle as quickly as possible to avoid court actions which if they were to lose could, in some cases, close them. Some justice."
The study was undertaken by three senior academics, Professors Richard Moorhead, Paul Fenn and Neil Rickman.

1 comment:

Jay Parmar said...

No win no fee agreements, also known as 'Conditional Fee Agreements'. This is a legal aid for those wishing to claim compensation for their personal injuries. The vast majority of no win no fee claims are for personal injury compensation. This covers a wide spectrum of events including accidents at work, in public places, medical negligence claims, industrial disease claims and road traffic accident claims. A large variety of claims are available on a no win no fee basis. No win no fee claims were introduced to bring about justice for the poorer sections of the population, making the law system accessible to all.