The Irvine Reforms

“The changes are illogical because personal injury pays its way under legal aid and unfair because the poor could lose their chance to take claims to court'. Heather Hallett QC, chairman of the Bar Council.

“It is vital that the legal expenses industry doesn't simply capitalise on the short-term opportunities any insurance products that are launched must be secure and have long-term stability'. Chris Ward, managing director, Abbey Legal Protection.

“Injured people will still be expected to pay the upfront costs of cases [themselves]. I challenge the government to tell us how much will be saved by this mean decision'. Caroline Harmer, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.

“The proposal for personal injury cases could cost litigants, the majority of whom are in receipt of income support, £3 for every £1 saved by the Treasury'. Vicki Chapman, head of policy, Legal Action Group.

“The success fee should not be paid by the defendants who lose. It is not an item of cost, it is a bonus for the plaintiff's lawyer'. Martin Bruffell, president, the Forum of Insurance Lawyers.

“There is a risk potential test cases will fail to meet either the legal merits test or the public interest criteria'. John Wadham, director, Liberty.

“We remain totally opposed to the withdrawal of legal aid without proper parliamentary debate'. Richard Miller, vice-chair, Legal Aid Practitioners Group.