Alcohol v Access to Justice - Two very different decisions

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BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

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The prices in which one can obtain alcohol in supermarkets these days is incredibly low and it has been for some time.  Well, it seems this recommendation is to be ignored by the powers that be.  OK, so most of us enjoy a drink.  For many a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day is the beginning of the wind-down process.  Myself included.  But I have to say that if I had to pay more then I would seriously think again. Perhaps I would go for a walk instead?

The medical authorities are up in arms.  The risk of drinking too much alcohol is clear for all to see.  Rising prices will reduce intake but of course (dare I say it), government taxes received on the sale of said alcohol will also reduce.  (Perhaps the government should consider the savings to to NHS?)

In contrast, as of 1 April 2013, access to justice for victims of personal injury will become more difficult.  The concept of  "no win no fee" is to disappear with injured parties suffering deductions from their compensation.  Furthermore, it is almost certain that it will become uneconomical for lawyers to run lower value road traffic accident claims as the fees that they are to be paid by the Defendant on successful claims is to be slashed for claims valued up to £25000.  Claims would almost certainly be run at a loss.   The same will apply to employers and public liability claims after 1 April 2013.

We are just waiting to hear whether the small claims limit is to be raised from £1000 to £5000.  If this goes through, then anyone who is injured and whose claim falls below £5000 in terms of value, will find it almost impossible to be represented by a lawyer.

The personal injury industry is at severe risk.  There will be widespread redundancies with many businesses going out of practice.  We have already seen this happen.

For the public and anyone who is injured through no fault of their own access to justice will become more difficult.  In many cases justice will not be done.  Catastrophic injury claims will continue, but those who have suffered a lesser injury but can ill afford to be off work as a result, may have no redress. You tell me.  Does this make sense?

Deborah Blackmore 

Chartered Legal Executive - Personal Injury team

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