Legal Aid was set up to accommodate those who needed legal advice and support but didn’t have the means to pay for such a service. Legal Aid provides people with the means to access the court system and fundamentally allows those who need it, equality before the law, means of legal representation and above all to be heard fairly in a court of law. Legal Aid has been central in providing a fair state especially those closely linked with welfare. It has always been seen as essential when it comes to offering people with ethical rights and being connected with cultural, social and economic rights. However Legal Aid how we know it is about to change from April 1st 2013.
The Legal Aid Agency
The legal Services Commission which is a non-department public body and sponsored by the Ministry of Justice to provide Legal Aid to those who are eligible to receive it will soon be abolished and replaced with Legal Aid Agency. The replacement comes after the Sentencing and Punishment Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) which makes way for reforms to change the way Legal Aid works and tighten up access to such a service. The change will take place on the 1st April 2014 and will drastically change how Legal Aid works, especially for those wanting to access it for medical negligence cases. Further information on negligence claims can be found on medical negligence assist.
How Will Things Change
It will mean that for many who believe that they have been a victim of some sort of medical negligence and would like their case looked in to that they will no longer be able to apply for Legal Aid to assist them in this. In short government funding will not be available to those pursuing a clinical negligence claim unless it meets highly strict and unmoveable criteria. At present and in the past anyone wishing to make a claim for medical negligence would have access to Legal Aid to fund their case. If you was successful your solicitor would fight for compensation either through an out of court agreement or if the defendants didn’t accept liability through the court. If you were successful you would receive the majority of your compensation, a sum of money to cover any loses and future costs of care you might need. Now, however funding of this time will be drastically narrowed down and adults as well as children will not be eligible unless a child has suffered a neurological injury during pregnancy, at birth or eight weeks after and as a consequence suffer severe brain damage. For those who do not have the means to fight such cases they would have to have their case accepted on a conditional fee basis – No Win No Fee. But there has also been changes to this in terms of if your successful you will receive most of the compensation but you may have to pay the success fee. Which means your solicitor can take a percentage of the compensation if the case is won. Critics say that as many as 650,000 people will no longer be able to apply for Legal Aid and restricting both Legal Aid and No Win No Fee claims is unfair. Parliament argues that up to 90% of medical negligence cases can be viewed under a conditional fee agreement. Also for more info on clinical claims visit www.medicalnegligenceassist.co.uk