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Adam Smith Institute proposes restricting legal aid in civil compensation cases

By Jonathan Isaby

Picture 1 A new paper published by the Adam Smith Institute today, Access to Justice: Balancing the Risks, calls for a "fundamental review of the funding of access to civil justice".

It raises concerns about claimants enjoying risk free litigation and asserts that civil legal aid is "dubious value for money" and should be abolished for most compensation claims, before proposing an alternative:

"The solution is to correct the risk imbalance between claimant and defendant within the framework of the existing conditional fee system - to devise a system of funding access to justice that is simple, robust, fair, accessible, affordable, and with costs proportionate to the damages at stake."

"The level of additional costs – specifically success fees and after the event (ATE) insurance – recoverable from unsuccessful defendants should be capped. This would stop claimants from bringing weak cases with no risk to themselves, while preserving access to justice in the absence of civil legal aid."

ASI Executive Director Tom Clougherty, observes:

"The current system of civil litigation in the UK is unfairly stacked in favour of claimants. We need to address the risk-free, compensation culture and the excessive costs it brings with it. The reforms we've proposed will save the taxpayer money while also ensuring a system of funding access to justice that is simple, robust and fair. It's a win-win that the Government should be tempted to go for."

You can download the whole paper here.


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