Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Stop the Legal Services Commission taking 25% of Victim’s Compensation

Why is it that government seem to have abandoned the rights of the individual in favour of saving money at all costs? Is it because we have a monetarist, cut, cut, cut, single-minded government who do not listen? Does the preponderance of millionaires on the front bench of government have anything to do with it? Too many questions, I know.

As part of the government’s proposed changes to the Legal Aid Fund, in an effort to save money and make Legal Aid self funding, there is a plan to introduce a Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme, whereby at the end of a case, even if it is successful and all money advanced by the Legal Services Commission is repaid, 25% of the Claimant’s compensation will be deducted and paid to the government in order to try and finance the Legal Aid scheme out of damages.

ACAL (Association of Child Abuse Lawyers) and I believe that the proposal is wrong, and should be abandoned for the victims of abuse. We have written a letter to the Ministry of Justice, which you can read here.

To take 25% of an abuse victim’s compensation is tantamount to abusing them all over again.
  • Often the abuser was a government employee. To subject the client to abuse, then take some of their compensation off them at the end is wrong.
  • The impact assessment published by the government when the scheme was proposed originally illustrated that the amount saved by the proposed scheme would be minimal in the area of abuse, principally because damages are relatively low in any event.
  • The largest saving to the Legal Aid Fund would be in the area of Clinical Negligence, which will be withdrawn from scope in any event. Thus there is no significant saving to be made, and the proposed policy is misguided and should be withdrawn.
  • Sometimes aggravated, exemplary or punitive damages are awarded to a victim in order to punish the abuser or his/her employers. If the Defendant is a government body, the deduction of money from damages by the Legal Services Commission becomes even more unacceptable as it defeats the whole point of punitive damages in the first place.
If you would like to support our campaign, please send a letter to your MP. We have attached a suggested letter, please fill in your own details, print it off, and send it to your MP. If you don’t know who your MP is, go to

To view the proposed letter (in Microsoft Word format - click here)