Director Andrew Greenwood discusses the news of delays to the introduction of reforms to our Justice system.
When Theresa May took over from David Cameron as Prime Minister, she gave her inaugural speech on 13 July 2016. She talked about fighting social injustice, citing, for example, that if you were born poor you would die, on average, nine years earlier than others. If you are black, you would be treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you are white. If you are at a state school, you would be less likely to reach the top professions than if you are educated privately. And so on.
Get the picture?
However, her speech went on to say that she will do everything she can to give the public more control over their lives, in particular, “…When we pass new laws, we will listen not to the mighty, but to you.”
The part about passing new laws and listening to the ‘ordinary people’ of Great Britain struck me as odd. This Government in particular has danced to the tune of the insurance industry for a good number of years now. It has created a rough justice system for dealing with cases involving injuries to people.
It had the cheek to call a claim of £25,000 a ‘low value’ case.
All of this was done to placate the Insurers whose lobbyists were working wonders for their masters.
So when I read yesterday’s news that the Government was delaying the introduction of reforms to our Justice system which would have prevented people from claiming compensation, I smiled a little.
The cynic within me suggested that this Government has far too much on its plate to try to steamroller these reforms to civil justice through Parliament, which (I hope) would have been fiercely attacked by the Opposition.
Or, perhaps, we are seeing a new Government which genuinely will ignore the powerful and ‘mighty’ and instead listen to what ordinary MPs would be saying on behalf of their constituents; namely, if I am injured in a car crash, can you explain why I am now not allowed to claim compensation?
Of course, the insurance industry with its billions of profits wallowing in its coffers will point to this myth of fraudulent claims driving up our insurance premiums.
I have yet to see any cogent or empirical evidence to suggest that fraudulent claims are driving up insurance premiums, and for George Osbourne to suggest that preventing people from making a claim would preclude fraudulent claims is a master statement of the obvious. It’s as clever as the banking industry stopping card fraud by banning the use of credit cards.
So, whilst I gradually release my breath before the next all too successful lobbyists on behalf of the insurance industry start up again, it will be interesting to see if this Government actually stops listening to the ‘mighty’ and instead concentrates on core issues of social justice and access to justice for all.
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