The media campaign group Hacked Off has coordinated an open letter to the government expressing the widespread discontent with the reform of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Reform Bill. The bill has now returned to the Commons for its report stage yet many vocal opponents believe the cuts to legal aid and removal of conditional fee agreements will remove access to justice for many individuals.
High Profile Yet ‘Ordinary’ People Oppose Abolition Of No Win No Fee
Highprofile signatories of the letter include the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler who suffered phone hacking and Christopher Jefferies and Robert Murat who were wrongfully portrayed by the media in the Jo Yeates and Madeleine McCann cases respectively.
The full list can be seen on the letter here. All had to take action against newspapers or broadcasters for libel or infringements into their private lives through the courts. And all had to resort to Conditional Fee Agreements to facilitate this.
The letter says: ‘We are all ordinary citizens who found ourselves in a position of needing to obtain justice by taking or defending civil claims against powerful corporations or wealthy individuals.
‘We would not have been in a position to do this without recourse to a ‘no win no fee’ agreement with a lawyer willing to represent us on that basis. As was made clear to each of us at the beginning of our cases we were liable for tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds if we lost.
‘Without access to a conditional fee agreement (CFA) which protected us from this risk we would not have been able even to embark on the legal journey.’
If No Win No Fee Removed Only Very Wealthy Would Have Access To Justice
The letter calls for the government to rethink their plans to remove CFA stating that without them only the very wealthy would be able to claim compensation. The same applies with Personal Injury cases and Clinical Negligence cases which can run for several years and be very costly. If CFA are to be removed then only the very wealthy will be able to pursue justice and secure their rightful compensation.