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Incoherent legacy of Jackson's civil justice reforms
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act is now law. With so little conceded to critics, those who opposed it with such energy could be forgiven for feeling resigned to their worst fears being realised.
But as we report in this week’s feature, supporters of those reforms based on Lord Justice Jackson’s (pictured) review of civil litigation are hardly triumphant. Ministry of Justice implementation of key parts of these reforms points to a flawed, partial and confused legacy.
Changes whose success is dependent on other reforms are happening in an illogical order.
What is more, most reforms will have to be implemented to an incredibly tight timetable – a due date of April 2013.
A ‘coherent package of interlocking reforms’ this package is not; but through no fault of the judge. Instead, it will be the accommodations and practical answers reached by claimant and defence lawyers – whether at Civil Justice Council committees, or during cases themselves – that determine whether the system can cope.
While many in civil justice understandably feel battle-weary, when talking to solicitors, it is clear that they are ready to play their part in this next crucial stage.
To take part in the necessary debates with fellow lawyers, readers should join the Gazette’s LinkedIn Legal Aid and Access to Justice subgroup.
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