Opposition growing against government legal aid plans

A Labour MP thinks government plans to force more road traffic cases through the small claims court will “sideline” people from the legal process.

The proposals are part of a Ministry of Justice consultation aimed at tackling fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims and could result in defendants having no legal representation.

But Bolton North East MP David Crausby thinks the move is unfair on those who are injured when not at fault as they are likely to come up against an insurance company’s lawyers.

He said: “This change would affect people from all walks of life, who could be effectively sidelined from the legal process.

“It seems inconceivable that a civilised society would condone such a measure but that would be a natural consequence of this proposal.

“No-one asks to be injured, so when they are it’s vital that they receive fair and equal treatment.”

Meanwhile, pressure is being applied on a government minister and Liberal Democrat MP to oppose the Governments plans which could also see defendants not getting a solicitor of their choice.

Around 100 of Lynne Featherstone’s constituents in Hornsey and Wood Green, in London, have signed a letter asking her to make a stand.

The letter, written by Bounds Green solicitor Matt Foot, said: “The only way they can get this through is with the support of the Lib Dems.

“The whole point of the Liberal Democrats joining the coalition was that they were supposed to protect civil liberties – that was written into the coalition agreement. This just makes all that a sick joke, really.

“If you cannot get the solicitor of your choice – if you have the solicitor imposed on you – then you are not going to get a fair trial. There is going to be an increase in miscarriages of justice. We are going backwards.”

  • If you have concerns about your access to legal representation call PM Law solicitors in Sheffield for advice on 0114 296 5444.
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