Positive elements to Queen's Speech but whiplash plan brings sting in the tail
The Queen’s Speech for the 2017 Parliament has set out a comprehensive agenda with much that will be received positively by the solicitor profession, the Law Society of England and Wales said today.
Prominent in the government’s agenda is a package of measures to make the legal changes needed to facilitate Brexit.
“Unravelling and redefining ties and laws made over the past 40 years, while providing as much certainty to individuals and businesses as is possible is a task of real complexity, ” said Robert Bourns.
“The government’s focus on providing this certainty is welcomed, and we hope the series of bills announced today will allow Parliament to work through these issues carefully, and give them the scrutiny they deserve.
“We will continue to offer the government the expertise and insights of the solicitor profession, and encourage it to draw on that to create a new relationship with the European Union that preserves and enhances our economy, our jobs, and the rights we all enjoy.”
The prominence given to a renewed focus on protecting the rights of the most vulnerable was also warmly welcomed.
“Our laws must be accessible to the most vulnerable in our society, and it was pleasing to see that the government will give this attention in the coming parliamentary session,” said Robert Bourns.
“A significant focus on combating modern slavery, both at home and abroad; law changes to protect victims of domestic violence; and updating our employment law to reflect modern working practices are all important steps which can help those who need it most.
“The UK is a world leader in promoting human rights, and the government’s commitment actively to enhance this commitment and ensure our rights are there for all of us is to be applauded and is important to the reputation of the UK.”
Government plans to continue with reforms to modernise the court system and reduce personal injury claims met with a more mixed response.
“Continued progress towards the careful modernisation of our courts system is to be welcomed, although care will need to be taken to ensure that justice is not diluted as it is modernised,” said Robert Bourns.
“However, we are very disappointed that the government has decided to revive its misguided whiplash reforms.
“It will be a clear injustice if the government persists with denying essential legal advice to those injured through no fault of their own - if government is truly committed to targeting fraudulent claims, it should do just that.”
Robert Bourns concluded: “The Law Society looks forward to working with the government to represent the views and offer the expertise of the solicitor profession as it advance an ambitious agenda for the next two years.”