Accidents happen, yet today we are encouraged to look for someone else to blame if we have one, rather than take responsibility for ourselves.

 

"No win, no fee" was introduced because Legal Aid was costing so much, even though personal injury work was a very small part of the total budget. In effect, the Government invited lawyers to devise ways of making money out of cases where there was no guarantee of success. They have done this, but with consequences that no one likes very much. The Government was warned this would happen.

 

Ending Legal Aid for personal injury claims left us in a world where we can apparently get money for nothing and where no connection is ever made between suing a school and a shortage of funds for books, or the banning of a sports day to avoid a lawsuit. Litigation has replaced common sense and taking responsibility for our actions, and, as a result, public bodies such as the NHS, schools, Local Authorities and Network Rail have become highly risk-averse and have curtailed many ordinary everyday activities.

 

We are being constantly bombarded with advertisements by claims management companies and by signs and announcements stating the obvious, e.g. radiators may be hot.

Why is this idea important?

“Compensation culture” is not the fault of the Human Rights Act but is the direct result of the introduction of “no win, no fee” and giving solicitors the right to advertise. We now have a culture driven by lawyers who encourage claims for almost any accident, while leaving just 125 inspectors to enforce safety on building sites across the UK.

The cost of NHS compensation claims has grown to more than £800m a year, of which £150m was paid to lawyers. The NHS has blamed this on a rise in “no win, no fee” claims which had led to some solicitors charging £600 an hour. This is of course money which would be far better spent on patient care.

We have schools closing at the slightest hint of bad weather, teachers who cannot put a plaster on a child's finger and a general decline in school trips.

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