Dowler Family Urge Government To Stop ‘No Win, No Fee’ Reforms

23 Sep 2011

The family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler have written to David Cameron urging him to block 'unjust and unfair' civil justice reforms.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister the family said the proposed reforms would 'significantly weaken' the 'no win no fee' mechanisms they used to pursue their case against News International.


This week it was reported that the publishing company has agreed a £3m settlement with the Dowlers over claims that Milly's phone was hacked following her disappearance in 2002.


Calling for the current system of 'no win no fee' agreements to be retained, the letter said: 'We were lucky that we fell under the [current] system. We understand that the new law affects thousands of people who want to sue.'


The reforms are contained in the government's Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) bill, which will soon receive its third reading in the Commons.  These reforms affect the whole civil justice system including personal injury claims.


The letters were welcomed by the Law Society, which has piloted the Sound Off For Justice campaign against the reforms.  Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Society, said: 'After all they have been through we welcome – and are humbled by – the intervention of the Dowler family in this debate. They have succeeded in making it clear to the prime minister that it is ordinary families with terrible life challenges that will be impacted the most. 'They will be the losers. As a society we need to protect them and their access to justice.'


Tom Hartigan, Personal Injury Solicitor at Trethowans commented "The proposed reforms will drastically restrict access to justice for claimants who are the innocent victims of negligence, injury and other wrongs.  They will be put off from taking action by the financial risks imposed on them by the proposed changes".