Paul Nicholls, MASS Chair, responds to the MoJ’s Post-Implementation Review of Part 2 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) – Civil litigation funding and costs
“We should not be the least bit surprised that MoJ have given its LASPO reforms a clean bill of health, despite its many obvious shortcomings and negative consequences.
We have always been concerned that the Jackson reforms concept, implemented in LASPO, of a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not necessarily work in all aspects and has a detrimental impact on the rights of some groups, for instance, vulnerable people such as children and protected parties.
MASS has no objection with the principle of Fundamental Dishonesty or QOCS providing they are used as intended, but there remains a clear imbalance in the absence of a similar sanction for defendants.
The reality is that the LASPO has made very little difference to the payment of referral fees which have been either rephrased as something else or by-passed through Alternative Business Structures. It is simply not good enough for the Government to sideline the issue by saying that ‘we didn’t receive any detail proposals about strengthening the ban so we’re not going to do anything about it’. Stakeholders have highlighted the problem and it is the role of Government and regulators to create the appropriate regulatory structure. Our door is always open for more detailed discussions on this issue.
After nearly two years of review, and a market that has fundamentally changed since the LASPO reforms were implemented, it is quite frankly astonishing that MoJ are not proposing any amendments to LASPO. Not a single one. It is clearly that much fabled creature, the absolutely perfect piece of legislation.”
You can read the full review here.