One of the UK’s largest personal injury law firms has been forced to lay off several members of staff, claiming that the governments sweeping civil justice reforms are to blame.
Forster Dean which has established itself on High Streets in the Midlands and North West in particular has let 13 staff members go, 10 of whom were solicitors.
Grey Shields, Forster Dean’s Chief Executive, has warned that these initial cutbacks may merely be the tip of the iceberg. Various members of staff have opted for early redundancy package and life is not expected to get easier in any of the firms 29 offices.
Experts in the legal sector added further gloom by suggesting that many other PI firms will be forced into similar cutbacks as they struggle to cope with changes in the law which have restricted their market. Indeed, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers conducted a study into the effects of government reforms of civil justice on PI firms, finding that 75% would need to reduce staff numbers.
The government’s civil justice reforms will see the small claims limit raised significantly and a reduction in fees for RTA claims of low value, thus reducing caseloads and potential margins for PI firms.
Forster Dean has been a vocal critic of the reforms, even submitting a Freedom of Information Request for the evidence supporting the governments move to cut fixed recoverable costs. Furthermore, Shields warned Justice Minister Helen Grant that 2 out of every 10 qualified solicitors across PI firms would be lost as a result of the reforms.
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