Chris Grayling – a man out of his depth?

Readers will be aware that I am unimpressed with the present Justice Secretary.   An earlier blog referred to his mouth working hard, rather like a fish out of water, and on balance, that may have been a slightly unfair analogy.

It is clear that the changes to the conduct of claims following road traffic accidents which the MOJ are chaotically pursuing are to benefit only the insurance industry.

There is no one who I know who represents injured persons who welcomes the changes, so one has to wonder why these changes are being promulgated.  It is an interesting perspective. I think.

If you were one of the 550 people who were killed or seriously injured on our roads today, then either those whom you have left behind or those who are now undergoing emergency surgery and beginning the long road to recovery would quite rightly expect the access to justice.

And indeed, the justice system of which our Justice Secretary was apparently so proud (see earlier blog) is to be quite a different landscape from April onwards.   Firstly, and thanks to the Government bowing to insurance industry pressure, those Claimants will have to pay a share of what they recover to the Claimant’s solicitors who are representing them.  Who benefits?  The insurance industry.

Secondly, there will be almost certainly a smaller number of experienced and expert solicitors dealing with this work because of the Government’s decision to cut the fees which are going to be allowed to be paid in these cases. Who benefits? Ah, that would be the insurance industry again.

Next, and moving away from the road traffic collision scenario, what about those who have been injured in the workplace as a result of defective machinery or unsafe methods of work? Well, the same principles apply above and guess what?  The same benefits accrue to the insurance industry, who wins again.

So, well done Mr Justice Secretary!

With a range of confusing and confused procedural changes, the introduction of a portal system which will mean for many lay Claimants, a slower and more inefficient way of prosecuting their claims, that ‘non-negotiable’ access to justice and fair representation of which our Justice Secretary was apparently so proud (see his Sunday Times article on 20 January 2013) looks as if it is benefiting only one party to the proceedings, namely the insurance industry.

I rather suspect a lot of these changes have been driven by the insurance industry lobbyists being so successful and persuasive, coupled with this Government being anxious to win votes from those of the squeezed middle who read and believe everything in the Daily Mail.

But for those people who are affected today by injury on the road or in the workplace for example, these changes do nothing but assist an insurance industry whose profits are already bulging and look set to bulge even more because of these changes.

It is a remarkably one sided win for the insurers.

Andrew Greenwood

Written by

Andrew Greenwood

Director & Head of Personal Injury

Andrew is a Director and Head of Personal Injury with over 30 years’ experience and has expert knowledge in serious brain, spinal and fatal injury cases. Andrew is a Deputy District Judge in the High Court and County Court, founding member and trustee of national charity SCARD (Support and Care After Road Death and...

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