The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) claims Lord Mackay is exaggerating the cost of personal injury cases to justify cutting legal aid.
David Marshall, Apil legal aid spokesman, said lawyers interpreted the Lord Chancellor's recent remarks about "legal aid wasting money on too many weak, trivial and undeserving cases" as referring to class actions and PI cases.
Apil also points out that the net cost of personal injury cases to the Legal Aid Fund in 1994-95 was about £44 million - only 3 per cent of the entire legal aid budget. Taking into account VAT receipts, the net cost of personal injury cases was about £17 million, based on statistics supplied by the Legal Aid Board.
"The Lord Chancellor is obviously keen to cut down on waste within the system," said Marshall. "The way to do it is not to focus on personal injury litigation, but by cutting out delay in the courts, with a less top-heavy administration."
An LCD spokesman described the claims as "nonsense". "The White Paper does not refer to personal injury cases and does not focus on them as a route to making massive savings."