Government fights accusations of UK’s “growing compensation culture”

The government has today (November 10) vehemently denied suggestions that there is a growing “compensation culture” in this country – a stance welcomed by the insurance industry.

Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, speaking at an insurance conference in London this morning, said: “My view is clear – I am opposed to the idea, or anything that promotes the idea, that where there is an accident, there is always compensation.”

And the government’s response to the Better Regulation Task Force Report, “Better Routes to Redress”, stated: “The Government is determined to scotch any suggestion of a developing ‘compensation culture’ where people believe that they can seek compensation for any misfortune that befalls them, even if no-one else is to blame.”

Lord Falconer also said suggestions that the Human Rights Act was responsible for “a tidal wave of litigation” were “preposterous”, and defended the use of conditional fee arrangements.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said the statements were “significant” and a breakthrough in government thinking, but added that the compensation system still needed improvement to make it fairer and more efficient.

Meanwhile, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) cautioned against using the small claims court for personal injury cases. President Colin Ettinger said such cases were too complex for the court.

As part of the government response to the Better Regulation Task Force, a ministerial steering group led by Department of Constitutional Affairs minister David Lammy is being set up to move the task force’s recommendations forward.