I have to confess to being an instinctive optimist. The glass tends to be half full. A lifetime as an Everton fan has occasionally led to blind, irrational optimism – but not this season!
But even I have struggled to find positives from the year gone by.
Here are just some of the changes that we have seen –
- Removal of the right of accident victims to recover success fees from Defendants meaning that they will see a reduction of up to 25% in their damages,
- Drastic reductions in recoverable legal costs making it uneconomical to take on certain cases without reducing quality,
- Abolition of legal aid for huge areas of work creating an access to justice waste land - http://thestevecornforthblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/access-to-justice-waste-land.html
- Eye watering cuts to the fees payable to criminal lawyers who are already amongst the lowest paid in the profession - http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/criminal-bar-names-6-january-as-strike-day/5039058.article
- The introduction of fees in Employment Tribunals resulting in a 50% reduction in cases - http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/dec/23/employment-tribunal-claims-introduction-fees
- The chilling decision in Mitchell v NGN which will see hundreds of claims struck out and an unmanageable drain of Professional Indemnity Insurance.
The world we can look forward to in 2014 will be very different from anything we have known before.
The only real comfort is that there is not much more that can be thrown at the profession. It is a bit like the scene at the end of Rocky where he is up against the ropes and having the living daylights beaten out of him. Not only does he survive but gets through four more movies!
The worst has been thrown at us and some, in fact most, of us are still here. It may be hard but those lawyers who are imaginative and robust will survive and even thrive again in time.
In the meantime let’s all enjoy Christmas. I’m looking forward to nice books/DVDs –
Fifty Shades of Grayling
LASPO Go Home (DVD)
The Empire Strikes Out
E-QWOCS The Movie
Have a great Christmas and New Year