Over the last few weeks we have reported on the planned changes to reform the way personal injury claims are conducted in the UK.
The government have announced plans to ban referral fees and are systematically trying to kerb the financial excesses which are putting such a financial strain on the nation’s finances.
Though these steps, which will come into effect in April 2013, will take us one step closer to addressing one part of our ‘compensation problem’, there do seem to be some problems which will take much longer to sort out.
In a recent article for the Telegraph, Dr Frank Furedi looks at the deeper problems that we face in the UK. In particular he looks at the deep seated attitude to compensation which he sees as the real problem.
Dr Furedi was part of a team who recently produced a report on ‘The Social Cost of Litigation’. Many people believe that the UK’s ‘compensation culture’ is only a concern for governments, large public sector organisations and companies with lots of employees. What this report highlights is that the fear and caution that the steady increase in litigation has caused is something which affects us all.
By drawing on a few key examples, Dr Furedi highlighted how in so many cases it is not really the viable threat of litigation which is the most destructive factor. Instead, he places emphasis on the fear caused by the threat of legislation. He argues that because of this fear, people across the country are holding back from performing their jobs and carrying out their social responsibilities because they are afraid of being sued.
Though this is an extreme view, it’s clearly backed up by extensive research and social commentary. The question is, how can something as deep rooted as this be counteracted?
Though this fear is something which has been developing gradually over the last 10 years, it is something which will be reversed with a reversal of confidence. Though the changes to referral fees are a very small step in the fight against un-substantiated claims, it is a step in the right direction.
If the deep rooted fear of legislation is going to be reversed, the government need to keep the momentum in their fight against this type of behaviour. If the public see the tide turning against illogical and unsubstantiated compensation claims, their confidence in the legal system will inevitably turn as well.