Justice Committee chair Bob Neill MP to speak on Civil Justice at A2J-sponsored fringe meeting

Access to Justice (A2J) is taking its civil justice campaign to the heart of the Conservative Party next week, as it sponsors a fringe meeting on 3 October, in Manchester.

Justice Select Committee chair Bob Neill MP, and Alberto Costa MP, a leading member of the Conservative Society of Lawyers, are joining A2J spokesperson Andrew Twambley and Axa’s David Williams on the panel at an event organised by leading think tank the Social Market Foundation to discuss ‘A fair, accessible legal system – what price civil justice?’

Mr Twambley said the event would underscore the crucial role of the Justice Committee in providing guidance to the Government on civil justice issues such as the discount rate (i) and the whiplash reforms.

“We are especially keen to persuade Mr Neill that there is merit in his committee reinstating its inquiry into whiplash reform,” said Mr Twambley, who added: “When the Committee took evidence on whiplash from the ABI in February, the poverty of the insurance industry’s case was brutally exposed, and the issue merits deeper examination from MPs.”

Mr Twambley will say that in personal injury reform, the general public risks losing their historic rights for the benefit of insurance companies intent on delivering on their duty to their shareholders to increase profits and dividends.

He willl also argue that the UK’s civil justice system is under threat from disproportionate cost cutting. “There’s a race to the bottom and the only other beneficiaries – other than the insurers – from civil justice reforms are claims touts, cold callers and McKenzie friends.”

On the discount rate, Mr Twambley believes that the government has failed to grasp the key issue in its proposed changes. “Giving power to the Lord Chancellor to set the level of compensation for catastrophic injuries has been a disaster, as until 2017, successive chancellors ducked the issue since the 2.5% rate was set in 2001.”

“The ABI are determined to maintain the status quo on responsibility for setting the rate because politicians are more susceptible to their lobbying than the judiciary.’

Mr Twambley said: “The fringe meeting will provide a fascinating insight into the politics and the personalities in civil justice reform and set the scene for what is going to be an intensive period of parliamentary activity in the months ahead.”

(i) At the Government’s request, the Justice Committee has agreed to undertake a pre-legislative scrutiny inquiry into the draft clause Assumed rate of return on investment of damages published on 7 September in Annex A to Command Paper 9500.

 

About Access to Justice

A2J represents the interests of the public and is supported by the broader personal injury (PI) sector. Its prime focus is to respond to the government’s proposed road traffic accident compensation reforms.

A2J provides a cohesive voice to fight these proposed draconian measures; it will work with the government and other interested parties to create sensible, balanced alternatives which protect individuals’ rights, while addressing the government’s concerns, particularly in relation to claims fraud.

For more information please contact: Ben Welsh 07568 382040