Calls are made for LASPO reviewDecember 3, 2014
The shadow justice minister announced at the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ (APIL) autumn conference that Labour wish to look into the effects of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), which was implemented in April last year.
Andy Slaughter wishes for an early review into the effects of the bill, despite the government wishing to wait five years after its introduction before conducting an official review. He believes that although the effects of the legal aid section of the act have been widely assessed, much less focus has been given to the second, which addresses the cost of litigation and funding.
He believes the legislation to indicate that the government have taken the side of insurers, after a ‘systematic attack’ on lawyers and claimants. Slaughter stated that labour had opposed the amendments in the second part of the bill, and that he believed them simply to be ‘cherry picked’.
The shadow justice minister also criticised the government for its manipulation of the issue of fraud into a central issue. He believes that fraud has been used as a tool with which to question claims overall, and that instead of addressing fraud, LASPO had resulted in an attack on all personal injury claims. He said that: “We have to reverse the trend. We have to ensure meritorious claims, whether in road traffic or employer liability, are heard.”
He explained that litigation is viewed negatively because it can be seen as “a drag on the freedom, particularly of big business or – in the case of judicial review – the state to operate without those tiresome things like litigants coming along and challenging decisions which they think are wrong.”
Anthony McCarthy, Director Solicitor at Macks, said that: “Andy Slaughter is right to be concerned about LASPO. I remain unconvinced however, that he and his party have the commitment to push through an alternative should they return to power next year”.
Source: The Law Society Gazette