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Victims of tabloid press urge Cameron to spare privacy and libel cases from conditional fee agreements

April 2, 2012 by  Filed under Featured, News




David Cameron is facing intense pressure to review his government’s proposed refrom to the ‘No win, no fee’ legal agreements. Most campaigners, who are urging for a halt to revise the conditional fee agreements (CFAs), are themselves victims of tabloid excesses including Kate and Gerry McCann who are parents of Madeleine, the girl who went missing in Portugal.

Madeleine’s parents, who joined hands with campaigners who are opposed to reforming CFAs, contend that such a move would curtail an ordinary citizen from having access to justice. They strongly advocate omission of Libel and Privacy cases from No win, No fee bill. This is probably the first time that the McCanns have come out in the public and expressed anguish over the outcome of Government’s legal reforms.

A letter to this effect is being handed over to Cameron, with the House of Lords awaiting the passing of the ‘legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders’ bill. The letter is also signed by Wilmshurst, a consultant cardiologist who defended himself against Libel claims. So also by Christopher Jefferies, who succeeded in winning Libel damages for false allegations by news papers in the Joanna Yeates murder inquiry.


The ‘Legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill’, besides intending a reform on no win no fee solicitors agreements, is also reducing £350m in the annual budget on legal aid, of Ministry of Justice. Hacked Off’s Martin Moore states;

“The government suggests they are going to deal with costs reform for privacy and libel cases in the forthcoming defamation bill, because they accept there is a problem. In that case they need to remove these sorts of cases from the scope of the current legal aid bill. That would also mean that the Leveson Inquiry can then be allowed to look at this issue as well without having been pre-empted by the government.”

However, Kenneth Clarke, the justice secretary, differs in his opinion. According to him the “compensation culture” has bred a bunch of claimants who are too eager to sue on flimsy grounds without giving second thoughts to the costs involved. His argument is that claimants who have strong causes should not find it difficult to hire lawyers and realize no win no fee compensation.                   

The law society, representing solicitors, which is opposing reform, agree that it is not attractive for them to take up cases of  ‘Not so well-off’ clients, resulting in denying justice to them through courts. Their contention is that it will restrict the ordinary citizen from claiming access to ‘No win, no fee’ lawyers. Nor will it save tax payer’s money. But for the rich, the other claimants shall not be able to defend their rights to freedom of speech, as they are money-less to fight against wealthy corporate libel claimants. Corporate or individuals with a heavy purse can easily fight defendants like Heather Brooke, Peter Wilmshurst, and Hardeep Singh etc.


Madeleine’s disappearance in 2007 followed by the utterly defamatory, false allegations of her parents cost the ‘Express Newspapers’ a court apology and £550,000 compensation. It amounts to saying that Tabloid press victims like Robert Murat, Bob and Sally Dowler, Christopher Jefferies, and Kate and Gerry McCann, cannot take legal actions for false accusations, hacking of phones and misrepresentations.

Libel Reform Campaign’s Dr Simon Singh is hopeful that reform of the libel law would be fair to all the needy, concerned. Doctors, writers and Scientists do need some kind of financial assistance when they are defending against wealthy libel claimants.


A spokes person of the Downing Street maintained that irrespective of their financial conditions, people shall have access to justice.

One of the Uk’s most common injury claims is whiplash claims and the goverment is working hard to lower the amount of people claiming.


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