Update on Jackson Reforms

There is still so much controversy raging as to whether the Jackson reforms are indeed a set of logical proposals that will bring balance back to a system where costs of injury compensation claims seem to be spinning out of control, or if these will just make it harder for individuals to gain access to the justice they deserve after a wrong has been done to them.

Jackson Reforms to Change Everything Come April

The Legal Aid, Sentencing, and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) together with the new Civil Procedure Rules, will bring into full effect most of the recommendations of Lord Justice Jackson this April. And with April just little less than just four months from now, it is already very obvious that the post-LASPO litigation world will be radically different from the one that lawyers have already been accustomed to for more than a decade now.

Jackson Reforms and the Great Changes it will bring to the Legal World

With the new rules on both cost and case management rules, damages-based agreements (DBAs), referral fee bans, end to after-the-event insurance premiums recovery, and qualified one-way costs shifting set to be implemented this April, the legal industry will indelibly be reshaped for many years to come. One thing that no doubt will happen is the staggering impact that the reforms will have on the business model wherein many law and legal firms are being run. The ability to retrieve the success fee from a defendant who lost the case has changed everything that one can think of in this field.

Another thing that will definitely be gone a little less than four months from now is the recoverability of insurance policy premiums that clients have taken out in the event that they lost the case and were deemed liable for any legal costs. Personal Injury (PI) solicitors and practitioners are definitely going to face severely difficult times ahead of them. Sue Nash, founder of Omnia and a veteran costs lawyer, predicted that ‘personal injury fee income will reduce by 25 to 50 percent over the next two to three years’.

Judge tries to convict teenager of wrong crime

It is always embarrassing when judges are forced into retreat after missing details of the trial they are presiding over. But when a judge forgets what crime he is convicting the person in front of him, you know they’ve got problems.

A trial last month saw friends and family of teenager Daniel Donohoe erupt into tears after Judge David Lane issued him with a two year prison sentence for charges of rape. The catch was, as Donohoe’s solicitor advocate (Andrew Hobson) politely informed the judge, his client had not admitted to, or been convicted of, rape.

The confusion most likely arose because Donohoe had previously pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. However, the judge was going on the previous charge, not realising that it had changed.  Hobson (Hine Solicitors), told the judge: “I’m terribly sorry, but this is not a rape case. I felt it appropriate to draw this to your attention as he is being sentenced for an offence he has not pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of.”

The judge was then forced to revoke the charge immediately, in front of a bemused, and in the case of the teenager’s family, relieved courtroom. One onlooker described the event as “strikingly bizarre”. When Donohoe was wrongly sentenced, he was led down to the cells, until the judge was informed of his mistake and adjourned. The recorder later claimed that it “had not been made clear” that a lesser offence had been committed by the boy, and the judge had only rape, and “no other option” on his charge sheet.

A fairly serious blunder if it had not been uncovered. Probably a huge relief for the teenager, although he did end up with a three year supervision order and his name on the Sex Offenders’ register. Arguably better than prison in any case.