Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Describe the potential impact on access to justice and after the event insurance from the ministry of justice considerations?

Paul Asplin answers...

The Government created the need for After the Event (ATE) insurance by removing Legal Aid in most personal injury cases. Unfortunately, the legislation that introduced conditional fees and ATE was not well prepared and it has therefore taken ATE Underwriters over 10 years to establish a stable and sustainable market, through a series of test cases in court. The Ministry of Justice are now suggesting that ATE cover may not be necessary in “simple” cases, but this completely ignores the basic principles of insurance in that the many pay for the misfortune of the few. If in future it is only possible to ensure high risk cases, then it is almost inevitable that the market for ATE insurance will collapse leaving the Government with a choice of reintroducing Legal Aid, at the expense of the tax payer, or accepting that genuine claimants will be denied access to justice.

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