According to research carried out by Kings College London the proposed reforms contained in The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill will, rather than saving money, end up costing us all £18 million a year in additional costs (h/t Frances McClenaghan of this parish).
It is clear that the intention of the bill is to reduce the number of claims brought before the courts; it should be equally clear that if this is achieved not only will the “I fell over and now want to sue God” type claims be harder to bring, but also perfectly legitimate and meritorious claims. It cannot be maintained that the reforms will only inhibit vexatious, silly or hopeless claims from coming to court, but leave genuine claimants untouched.
We are left then, assuming for a moment that the bill would decrease the volume of litigation, with a proposal that is not only socially regressive but also potentially more expensive than the current system when judged across all the departments of state. For a costs saving measure this must class as a pretty big fail.
Is this a contender for the worst piece of coalition legislation? Suggestions welcome below – A small prize may be had for the best suggestion.