Ministry of Justice
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No win, no fee under scrutiny

No win, no fee under scrutiny

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE News Release (068/08) issued by The Government News Network on 25 June 2008

A research based review of no win no fee arrangements in England and Wales was announced today.

The study, by senior academics, will look at whether no win no fee arrangements are still operating in the best interests of giving people access to justice.

Justice Minister Bridget Prentice said:

"No win no fee arrangements are vital in helping to give the public a voice in courts. However, we are aware of growing concerns that they may not always be operating in the interests of access to justice.

"We feel that now is the appropriate time for a comprehensive, objective and evidence based examination of the operation of no win no fee arrangements in relation to personal injury, employment and defamation/cases."

Professor Moorhead said:

"The controversies generated around no win, no fee agreements cry out for a balanced, evidence-based approach. We aim to provide that approach through generating evidence that respects and reflects all sides of the debate."

Professors Richard Moorhead, Paul Fenn and Neil Rickman, will consider how best to:

* identify representative samples of claims data in personal injury, employment and defamation/privacy cases;

* examine the nature of funding arrangements in these cases and the outcome;

* identify random samples of clients and legal advisers that may help provide more detailed data about the understanding of quality and change within the legal services sector;

* analyse the unmet legal needs in the areas of personal injury, employment and defamation/privacy.

The professors are expected to report to ministers in the autumn. The report will help determine what specific aspects ought to be pursued in more detail and the feasibility of doing so.

Notes for Editors

1. Professor Richard Moorhead is Deputy Head of Cardiff School of Law. His main research interests are legal aid, the courts, the legal profession, regulation of professions and legal systems and socio-legal research methods. He has conducted a number of evaluations of legal aid programmes as well as empirical research into the courts and the legal profession. He teaches an undergraduate course on lawyers: practice and ethics and an LLM course on commercial legal practice. As well as being Deputy Head of School, he is Director of Research. He is also a member of the Civil Justice Council.

2. Professor Paul Fenn teaches at Nottingham University Business School. His background is in applied microeconomics, particularly in relation to the interaction between law, health, and insurance. He has written or edited four books and numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals on the general themes of liability insurance, medical negligence, and the economics of the legal services market. He has coordinated research projects on these issues for the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice. He has recently completed a research project funded by The Economic and Social Research Council's Public Services Quality programme on "Liability, Risk-pooling and Health Care Quality".

3. Professor Neil Rickman is the Head of the Economics Department at the University of Surrey and a member of RAND Europe. His research interests are in applied microeconomics, with particular reference to legal and health services. In these areas, he has published on a variety of topics including legal aid reform, contingent fees for legal services, legal expenses insurance, litigation and medical negligence. He has undertaken research for the Ministry of Justice, the Civil Justice Council, the Legal Services Commission and the Department of Health.


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