The Bill’s second reading in the Commons yesterday was book-ended by the speeches of the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor David Gauke and by junior justice minister Rory Stewart. In the intervening three and half hours the government flagged some important amendments it will make and the opposition set out the key elements of its argument against much of the whiplash reforms in particular. The body of this blog attempts to summarise the debate. Continue reading
Last week the Ministry of Justice responded to the Justice Committee’s report on small claims published in May. Paragraph 36 of the MoJ’s response confirms that the Government will postpone implementation of the whiplash and small claims reform programme until at least April 2020. Justice Committee Chair Bob Neill MP then wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice to seek further clarification on certain aspects of the reforms. Continue reading
In past few months we have posted blogs about the evidence sessions held by the Commons Justice Committee into court and tribunal fees. We highlighted the prime question under consideration that focused on “…what is an acceptable amount to charge in order to preserve access to justice?..”
Today the Committee has published its report which – as was to be expected given the nature of the evidence it received – is heavily critical of the Ministry’s approach to the recent fee increases. Its headline conclusion is that major changes are urgently needed to restore an acceptable level of access to the employment tribunals (ET) system. The introduction of issue fees and hearing fees for claimants in ETs in July 2013, coincided with a drop of almost 70% in the number of cases brought. A judicial review by UNISON in connection with these increased ET fees is to be heard by the Supreme Court in due course.