11 year old Milly Evans was awarded just under £11m in one of the biggest settlements for Medical Negligence. She suffered catastrophic brain damage due to inadequate monitoring of her heart rate during labour. Whilst £11m sounds like a lot of money this will be needed to cover the cost of her care for life.
As a result of recent government attacks on Legal Aid cases like this will be extremely difficult to investigate and pursue. It is inevitable that fewer victims will be able to obtain justice.
A few weeks ago I wrote about good news for asbestos victims following what is known as trigger litigation –
The majority of those seeking justice for asbestos illnesses pursue their cases on a no win no fee basis. And many would find it impossible to pursue in any other way especially in the absence of legal aid. The government have agreed to delay bringing in dramatic restrictions on these agreements for mesothelioma victims. But they haven’t gone away and the restrictions, which could see victims deprived of up to 25% of their damages will still apply in all other work related health cases.
Many of us are following the Leveson inquiry and the alarming revelations about phone hacking. This scandal came to the fore following news that murder victim Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked. Her family successfully sued News International with the help of a no Win No Fee agreement. The family went on record to say that they could not have pursued the case otherwise –
These cuts are said to be part of a drive to eliminate ‘spurious’ claims. There is nothing spurious about any of these cases. These are ordinary people seeking justice normally against those who are more wealthy and powerful.
In thirty years this is the most aggressive attack on the rights of ordinary people that I have ever known. Most of the cuts have now passed through parliament – some by the skin of their teeth.
But this does not mean that all those committed to justice should not keep on reminding those in power that this is not acceptable and must change.