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Paul Sankey: Legal Aid Bill: why the media silence?

John Prescott has attacked government changes to the funding of legal claims in robust terms and accused the media of complicity in its own interests – see article below.
He claims that the changes benefit large corporations. In his words they are ‘nothing less than a cack-handed attempt to benefit large corporations when they are being sued’. The losers will be ordinary people trying to enforce their rights including victims of human rights abuses and babies brain-damaged at birth. But they will also be ‘victims of media corporations’ desire to print half-truths and invade privacy.’ Because the media are themselves the target here, Prescott says the media is failing to cover the changes adequately.
Whilst being sold as a way of reducing motor insurance premiums, the legislation is in reality an attack on the rights of ordinary people to obtain access to justice. Prescott’s principal concern appears to be defamation and invasion of privacy by the press. As a victim of the phone hacking scandal his experience has no doubt coloured his views. However a major effect of the bill will also be to make it difficult for the injured victims of medical negligence from NHS and private care to get justice.
John Prescott is absolutely right. With characteristic bluntness he says of the bill, ‘It’s about rigging the civil justice system for ever so that ordinary people can’t take on vested interests…’. Sankey is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.