Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- Oct 01, 2012 -- Just days after a cabinet re-shuffle the Legal Reform Team at the Ministry of Justice have confirmed that the government's proposed plans to deduct 25% from the compensation of actions against the police victims have been scrapped.

The new look Ministry of Justice is now headed by Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling after Ken Clarke's sideways move to 'minister without portfolio'. He is assisted by Lord McNally, a Liberal Democrat peer who is now responsible for legal aid, and Helen Grant, who is to take charge of implementation of certain aspects of civil reforms.

Abandoning the supplementary legal aid scheme

The department wasted no time in back-tracking on one of the most controversial aspects of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012) ('LASPO'): the implementation of a supplementary legal aid scheme ('SLAS').

As Iain Gould, a solicitor and partner at leading national law firm David Phillips & Partners points out, 'LASPO was one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever to have passed through Parliament, being amended numerous times and intensely debated in the House of Lords before becoming law. It comes in to effect next April, and the proposed SLAS would have meant that even fewer people would have been willing to seek justice from the police due to the reduction in damages.'

Impact on actions against the police

Iain Gould is a specialist solicitor who deals with actions against the police. He acts both as a legal aid lawyer and for clients on a 'no win no fee' basis. His clients are people from all walks of life who have been mistreated by the police, and those acting with police-like powers. Often they have been unlawfully arrested, assaulted and detained. Some have been subject to malicious prosecution, and in the worst cases, death in custody. His clients, if successful, are awarded damages by the Court for physical pain, emotional suffering and other expenses.

Mr. Gould explains, 'The government proposed SLAS as a way of recovering 25% of the winning claimant's damages for pain, suffering, loss of amenity and past losses. It was a way of making money out of people who had suffered at the hands of the State to subsidise the legal aid budget.'

Adding insult to injury

He asks, 'The proposal was wrong from the start. Why should an innocent person suffer twice: the first time at the hands of the police; the second at the hands of the government who take their compensation from them? I am greatly relieved for my clients that the government have seen sense and dropped this unpopular proposal.'

Contact Profile

David Phillips & Partners Solicitors:

-- Offices throughout the UK including London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.
-- Regulated by Solicitors' Regulation Authority (SRA Ref#: 73353).
-- Founded in 1982 and has over 30 years legal experience in the following specialised areas; criminal defence, accident claims, actions against the police, matters involving children, motoring offences and prison law matters.
Iain Gould
P: +44 151 933 5525
W: www.dpp-law.com


Legal Reform Team, Ministry of Justice



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