Pre-woolf reforms (WOOLF REFORMS)

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  • Created by: Keshena
  • Created on: 17-03-16 17:44
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    • The civil justice system experienced problems for many years
      • The main problems were; cost, delays and complexity
    • Delays can cause ordinary people and their families, financial hardship, stress and anxiety.
    • These factors will cause the economically weak party to settle claims
    • In 1992, a working party set up by the Bar Council and Law Society (THE HEILBRON LODGE REPORT)
      • They found that the civil justice system was inflexible and incomprehensible to clients
    • Computers were rarely used in the County Court and High Court.
    • Factors deterring litigation included;
      • High costs and the principles that 'costs follow success'
        • This is the traditional view that if a party is unsuccessful in their claim, they must pay the legal costs of the winner.
        • The cost could be very high, particularly if the case is appealed to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.
    • Delays; Many lawyers would use complex procedures to delay the case being held
      • This would help to increase their fees
    • Lawyers are paid by the hour.
      • If they are paid by the hour, there is no incentive for them to pay attention to the need for efficiency and speed.
    • The delays caused litigants to settle. Even when litigants settled out of court there were still delays
    • The Pearson Commission survey found that 96% of payments under £500 were paid within 2 years
      • Only 42% of payments over £1,000 were made within the same time scale.


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