The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill is now in the House of Lords but it has not been smooth sailing for the Conservatives. Over 50 Lords stood up to criticise aspects of the bill, in particular the cuts being made to Legal Aid. Now in the committee stages, it is expected that quite a few amendments are going to be proposed and concessions are going to have to be made to ensure it goes through.
So where does this leave the changes to Civil Litigation and in particular After The Event Insurance and Success Fees? Well, I have a friend who is an MP and pretty high up in the Labour Party. He says that no one is really focused on the Civil Litigation side. There is so much in the bill and so little time has been allocated that it is unlikely the changes are going to be debated at all! So you see this is how legislation is being brought in under this Government. They are chucking in lots of changes with the hope that MPs and the Lords won't worry about the small stuff - and it is working.
The only 'good' news appears to be the 6 month delay in the Legal Aid changes being implemented (moved from October 2012 to April 2013). Now calls are being heard across the industry for both the legal aid changes and the civil litigation changes to take place at the same time. This makes sense as, after all, there is a significant interplay between Legal Aid and civil claims - After The Event Insurance was seen as the replacement for Legal Aid back in 1999. The reason for the delay in the implementation of the legal aid reforms is said to be Alternative Business Structures (ABS) - they want to see the impact of introducing ABSs before making further changes. Can't see them taking much notice of it though.
And so to end... on a joke. I am still thinking of a good one but in the meantime, my fellow Director Simon has come up with this one - apologies in advance:
We promised a Christmas joke but instead we have to issue an important warning. Many of you may have seen our latest Gazette advert offering assistance with a case management system for new firms under the slogan (with acknowledgement to the National Lottery) "Because you need to be in IT to win it”. Please note that some people may confuse this with the Eskimo lottery, but this is entirely wrong.
Under the Eskimo lottery "You need to be Inuit to win it”.
Oh reindeery me....