What part of ‘justice’ don’t they understand?
Clinical negligence partner Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp reflects on the apparent hypocrisy of the Justice Secretary’s appreciation of our legal system…
Not long ago I highlighted the fact that we were heading for a time when only the very rich had access to justice. This was after Richard Branson took legal action over the allocation of the West Coast Mainline franchise and, in so doing, was able through his lawyers to show that the process was flawed and unfair.
A further step in the direction of an elite-only legal system occurred a couple of weeks ago when Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary (ironic title), called for more Russian oligarchs to come to the UK to use our excellent legal system to resolve their disputes. He was very complimentary about our dispute resolution services and the ability of the lawyers who deal with these cases – quite rightly, as we have arguably the best legal system in the world.
However, the call came the week before for swingeing cuts to legal aid and the culling of success fees on no win, no fee agreements. These, together, will prevent most ordinary people from contemplating a legal claim even if they are seriously injured. The Government, on the one hand, extolling the virtues of our system for the mega rich whilst, on the other, denying ordinary British people the right to use it.
I can think of more suitable titles than Justice Secretary as there is no justice in this hypocrisy.