Is there a ‘City’ view when it comes to law reform? One of this week’s correspondents, Richard Edwards of Liverpool firm E Rex Makin & Co, maintains that there is, and that it is directing government policy at will.
Certainly the Ministry of Justice believes there are time-rich, chancerish claimants and their have-a-go advisers on one side – facing up to over-sued, red-taped, wealth-creating corporates and their level-headed lawyers on the other.
But aside from notoriously influential conversations with the insurance lobby, it is difficult to match government policy with the views of many ‘City’ lawyers. It is easy to find well-rewarded partners in our largest law firms, and general counsel in financial services, who abhor the damage caused by legal aid cuts to social welfare law.
Equally they note the frustrations they and their clients feel in facing unrepresented litigants, whose presence in the courts has simply displaced costs from the legal aid bill – both to their own clients and other parts of the public expenditure. And they would like to see traditional law firms remain on the high street.
‘Real’ City conversations reveal professionals with an interest in the health of the legal system in the round, and respect for colleagues in less-moneyed parts of the profession. Government and others who believe they are ‘pro-business’ could learn much from such mature attitudes.