New government policies have been brought into effect following the Jackson Reforms at the beginning of April and personal injury legal firms are said to be feeling their effects already. The reforms were feared to effect business due to their changing of laws regarding conditional fee agreements and limits on small claims. The effect of the small claims limit has been predicted to be ’catastrophic’ for firms. Conditional fee agreements – more commonly known as ‘no-win-no-fee’ was the main payment agreement to be used in personal injury legal cases and it has now been banned.
A recent campaign reported 2,500 jobs losses at personal injury legal firms, prior to the implication of the reforms at the beginning of April. This has been coupled with estimates of 75% of personal injury legal firms being predicted as having to make layoffs. Most of the jobs which have been lost are the jobs of legal admin staff and secretaries.
This appears to paint a bleak picture for the future of personal injury law. However, redundancies have been visible in the person injury sector for a number of years, since the UK hit recession in 2009. Also current figures have not yet been released regarding the state of the UK personal injury market. The jobs losses which were reported in March were from firms which were engaging in preparation for the reforms as they were predicted a reduction in instructions.
The ‘save the legal industry’ campaign was intended to move the government into action and get them to step in to protect jobs – 3,000 signatures were collected within the week following the campaign’s online launch and this online petition was backed up by a government petition. However, the Jackson reforms were still brought in, and in full. It is now a waiting game to see what the accumulative effect on jobs and on the public the Jackson Reforms are set to have.
Personal injury lawyers are needed and they are needed by vulnerable members of the public. The question is, how many members of the public will still be able to afford to get the help they need and how many lawyers will there still be out there specialising in personal injury law in a year’s time? Whether the picture really is as bleak as some lawyers are predicting remains to be seen. Loyalty Law believes the claims which need to be heard in courts, will still be heard and the lawyers which provide a high quality service to their clients will still remain.
Author: Nicholas Jervis