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oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

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oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Justiceforallkids on Mon 26 Mar - 3:23

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/mar/26/mccanns-cameron-media-libel-legal-aid?INTCMP=SRCH


Kate and Gerry McCann urge PM to save 'no win, no fee' for libel cases

Parents of missing Madeline join victims of tabloid excess and libel reformers in open letter to David Cameron

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Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent
The Guardian, Monday 26 March 2012

Gerry and Kate McCann want David Cameron to save 'no win, no fee' deals in libel and privacy cases
Gerry and Kate McCann arrive at the Leveson inquiry. They want David Cameron to save 'no win, no fee' arrangements in libel and privacy cases. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Kate and Gerry McCann, the couple whose daughter Madeleine went missing in Portugal, have written to the prime minister urging him to abandon his government's plans to alter no-win, no-fee legal agreements.

The couple, making their first public intervention in politics, are among a group of libel reform campaigners and well-known victims of tabloid newspapers who warn that plans to rewrite what are known as conditional fee agreements (CFAs) will ensure that only the rich have access to justice in future.

The letter, to be delivered to David Cameron on Monday, comes before Tuesday's third reading in the House of Lords of the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill (Laspo), which has already suffered nine defeats on different amendments at the hands of peers.

The letter is also signed by Christopher Jefferies, who won libel damages from eight newspapers over false allegations during the Joanna Yeates murder inquiry in Bristol, and a consultant cardiologist who had to defend himself against libel claims when he criticised medical research.

It is the first time the McCanns have voiced their concerns about the impact of the government's legal reforms.

The letter has been co-ordinated by Hacked Off, which campaigned for a public inquiry into phone hacking, and the Libel Reform Campaign.

As well as cutting £350m out of the Ministry of Justice's annual legal aid budget, the Laspo bill will reconfigure no-win, no fee agreements. It prevents claimants from recovering their expensive insurance premiums and lawyers' success fees from losing defendants. Instead, the costs will have to be paid out of any final award.

Martin Moore, of Hacked Off, said: "The government suggest they are going to deal with costs reform for privacy and libel cases in the forthcoming defamation bill, because they accept there is a problem. In that case they need to remove these sorts of cases from the scope of the current legal aid bill. That would also mean that the Leveson Inquiry can then be allowed to look at this issue as well without having been pre-empted by the government."

The justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has condemned the current system of CFAs for encouraging a "compensation culture" under which claimants sue too readily without thinking much about the costs incurred. Those with good causes will always find lawyers to take on their cases, it is argued.

Opponents of the changes, such as the Law Society, which represents solicitors, warn that it will make it unattractive for lawyers to take up cases and will stop the less well-off from obtaining redress through the courts. The letter to the prime minister warns: "Parliament is on the cusp of passing a law that will grossly restrict access to justice for ordinary people in privacy and libel cases, without even any saving to the public purse. We strongly object to the passing of this unjust measure and urge you to amend it before it is too late.

"A successful libel defendant obviously does not get any damages so these reforms will prevent all but the rich from being able to defend their right to free speech against wealthy or corporate libel claimants.

"In future ordinary defendants, like Peter Wilmshurst, Hardeep Singh and Heather Brooke, will also be unable to get support for legal action taken against them often by large institutions with deep pockets trying to silence them. That would be bad news for science and medicine, for free religious debate and for transparency in the public interest.

"And victims of the tabloid press like Christopher Jefferies, Bob and Sally Dowler, Kate and Gerry McCann and Robert Murat will not be able to take legal action against the tabloids for hacking into their phones, for false accusations, and for gross misrepresentation."

Kate and Gerry McCann accepted damages of £550,000 and a high court apology from Express Newspapers over "utterly false and defamatory" stories published about the disappearance of their daughter in 2007. The letter argues that newspaper corporations with big legal departments will be able to intimidate victims of false stories because they would face millions of pounds in costs if they lose.

Wilmshurst, one of the signatories, is a consultant cardiologist who used a CFA to successfully defend himself in three libel actions brought by an American company. He said: "The government say they expect people to pay lawyers' success fees from their damages. But defendants in libel actions don't win damages, they only win their free speech rights.

"These reforms obviously don't work for innocent libel defendants and I am shocked the government has not yet listened to our plight. If this bill becomes law in its current state, people like me will not only have to risk their house for the other side's costs, but would not be able to find a lawyer. It is a terrible attack on free expression of doctors and scientists."

Dr Simon Singh, of the Libel Reform Campaign, said: "Although I did not wholly rely on a no-win, no-fee agreement when I successfully defended myself against the British Chiropractic Association, scientists, doctors and writers like me nearly always need some help in financing a defence against a wealthy libel claimant. Without proper provision, we will be unable to defend our freedom of expression. I know the government understands the importance of reforming libel law to make it fairer for all, so I am optimistic the problem will be solved."

Last year the parents of the murdered teenager Milly Dowler also wrote to Cameron asking him to reconsider the bill urging him to abandon legal reforms that will prevent victims suing for compensation. A Downing Street spokesman said on that occasion: "The government is absolutely committed to ensuring that people can access the justice system regardless of their financial situation, which is why we are committed to maintaining 'no win, no fee' arrangements.

"There are many deserving cases brought before the courts. But we have to stop the abuse of the system by others pursing excessive, costly and unnecessary cases. Under the current arrangements, innocent defendants can face enormous costs, which can discourage them from fighting cases. This simply isn't fair.

"By balancing the costs more fairly between the claimant and defendant, these changes will ensure that claimants will still be able to bring deserving claims, and receive damages where they are due, and most importantly they will make the no win, no fee"So in order to ensure that the no win, no fee cases continue to provide fair access to justice for all, we have to make changes.

system sustainable for the future."

The Dowlers' lawyer, Mark Lewis, said: "The reply we got from David Cameron simply said that their sort of high-profile case would always be able to get legal help, but said nothing about how they could protect themselves from Mr Murdoch's costs if they had lost, given the abolition of the insurance arrangements. And anyway, why should only so-called high-profile cases have access to justice? The law should not pick and choose in that way."

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  kitti on Mon 26 Mar - 7:31

They write a letter to Cameron when it concerns money yet they cant send one to the PJ to reopen the case.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Guest on Mon 26 Mar - 11:20

Oh, the IRONY!

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Panda on Mon 26 Mar - 11:32


They really are a disgusting Pair, they really have to get into everything, from joining in Missing Persons protests to using Top Line Lawyers at top of the range fees, from the Fund, to step on anyone who dares criticise them. The Legal System does allow for Government Aid if the Plaintiff does not
have the money to take Legal action , similarly a Deendant can claim. Britiain has been getting a Reputation for the large payouts for Libel and Slander, to the extent that Foreigners, particularly Americans , have their cases tried here.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Oldartform on Mon 26 Mar - 12:38

I`m finding it difficult to get my head around this. So what is their motivation for doing this? Is it because if they sue someone for libel or defamation, they don`t want to pay any fees if they lose? At the moment the law says they don`t have to, but if the Tories change the law and do away with the `no win, no fee`, they will have to incur solicitors costs if they lose? It`s too complicated for me.


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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Roasted Arizona on Mon 26 Mar - 12:44

I wouldn't mind, but it wouldn't even be their own bloody money if they had to pay.....it would be money collected from OAP's and children that contributed to their sodding fund, god they piss me off!

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  MaryB on Mon 26 Mar - 12:47

Forgetting about the McCann case. I for one thing that in the time of all these cut backs money can be spent on better things than suing the media. I certainly approve of the Government cutting back on legal aid for libel cases. And most people who are libelled have enough money to pay for their own fees.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  margaret on Mon 26 Mar - 12:47

As if they haven't stolen enough tax payers money, when they could have stayed in for free that night or paid £10 for MW to look after their children and we wouldn't be funding them now.

I thought their legal fees were being paid so what's with the 'no win no fee'?

Unless they envisage their benefactor dumping them soon as SY come to their conclusions?

They really have so little support already, they are daft to put their names to this the public will be savage. Whoever said 'Oh the irony' you are bang on!

ETA: It was Iris


Last edited by margaret on Mon 26 Mar - 12:49; edited 1 time in total

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Chris on Mon 26 Mar - 12:49

kitti wrote:They write a letter to Cameron when it concerns money yet they cant send one to the PJ to reopen the case.


I am guessing they didn't actually write anything. It is a letter prepared by Hacked Off to which they had added their signature along with Jeffries, Murat and a few others.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  marxman on Mon 26 Mar - 12:54

Oldartform wrote:I`m finding it difficult to get my head around this. So what is their motivation for doing this? Is it because if they sue someone for libel or defamation, they don`t want to pay any fees if they lose? At the moment the law says they don`t have to, but if the Tories change the law and do away with the `no win, no fee`, they will have to incur solicitors costs if they lose? It`s too complicated for me.


I'm thinking that they are protecting their
nest-egg against any would-be claimant
that may have reason to take libel action
against them in the future.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  cass on Mon 26 Mar - 12:58

marxman wrote:
Oldartform wrote:I`m finding it difficult to get my head around this. So what is their motivation for doing this? Is it because if they sue someone for libel or defamation, they don`t want to pay any fees if they lose? At the moment the law says they don`t have to, but if the Tories change the law and do away with the `no win, no fee`, they will have to incur solicitors costs if they lose? It`s too complicated for me.


I'm thinking that they are protecting their
nest-egg against any would-be claimant
that may have reason to take libel action
against them in the future.
spot on marxman , they sue sue sue if anything is said about them , but what about the things they have said about ga murrat etc etc they will need the mony for that greedy pigs , but hey ho it will just show jo public what we all know here what they are infact as much as i hate the headline etc . give em enough rope and all that

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Justiceforallkids on Mon 26 Mar - 13:06

whats that old saying they can dish it out.............

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Oldartform on Mon 26 Mar - 13:13

marxman wrote:
Oldartform wrote:I`m finding it difficult to get my head around this. So what is their motivation for doing this? Is it because if they sue someone for libel or defamation, they don`t want to pay any fees if they lose? At the moment the law says they don`t have to, but if the Tories change the law and do away with the `no win, no fee`, they will have to incur solicitors costs if they lose? It`s too complicated for me.


I'm thinking that they are protecting their
nest-egg against any would-be claimant
that may have reason to take libel action
against them in the future.

Oh right, thanks Marxman. I was thinking it was the other way round and that they have a long list of people that they`re planning to sue in the future and don`t want to risk having to pay solicitors` fees if they lose. Say, at the moment, they won`t have to pay Carter Ruck if they lose against Tony Bennett, but if the `no win, no fee` was non existant, they would have to pay if they lost.

If anyone did sue them for libel or defamation in the future and the `no win, no fee` law was quashed, I would have thought this would make it less likely that anyone would sue them as it would be too costly if they lost against the McCanns. Oh, its all so confusing !

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  gillyspot on Mon 26 Mar - 13:26

I imagine that Carter-Ruck had a hand in the McCanns agreeing to this as it has been a nice little earner for them. They just have to put their heavyweight lawyers on the case and most will crumble through fear. I am sure that Daily Express said they didn't want to fight because that in itself is very expensive so was cheaper to pay up.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  marxman on Mon 26 Mar - 13:44

Oldartform wrote:
marxman wrote:
Oldartform wrote:I`m finding it difficult to get my head around this. So what is their motivation for doing this? Is it because if they sue someone for libel or defamation, they don`t want to pay any fees if they lose? At the moment the law says they don`t have to, but if the Tories change the law and do away with the `no win, no fee`, they will have to incur solicitors costs if they lose? It`s too complicated for me.


I'm thinking that they are protecting their
nest-egg against any would-be claimant
that may have reason to take libel action
against them in the future.

Oh right, thanks Marxman. I was thinking it was the other way round and that they have a long list of people that they`re planning to sue in the future and don`t want to risk having to pay solicitors` fees if they lose. Say, at the moment, they won`t have to pay Carter Ruck if they lose against Tony Bennett, but if the `no win, no fee` was non existant, they would have to pay if they lost.

If anyone did sue them for libel or defamation in the future and the `no win, no fee` law was quashed, I would have thought this would make it less likely that anyone would sue them as it would be too costly if they lost against the McCanns. Oh, its all so confusing !

Hi Oldartform, yes it is very confusing, but I
would assume that with the current 'no win-no-fee'
in place, it is more difficult to sue for libel. I maybe
completely wrong, but because serious costs are
involved most legal heads would dismiss the vast
number of potential cases as counter-productive or
erronious. Whereas, if this legal arrangement was
scraped only cases that would merit a cost and a
high likelyhood of success would go through the
courts. I believe the Mccanns would dread a high
volume of potentially successful cases being screened
beforehand coupled with a financial determination
to succeed. I maybe totally of the mark here, but
something has triggered the mccanns to act and inside
the fields of politics and law.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Oldartform on Mon 26 Mar - 15:04

Thanks Marxman. Seems justice is determined purely on how much money lawyers can make out of a case.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Panda on Mon 26 Mar - 15:35

Oldartform wrote:I`m finding it difficult to get my head around this. So what is their motivation for doing this? Is it because if they sue someone for libel or defamation, they don`t want to pay any fees if they lose? At the moment the law says they don`t have to, but if the Tories change the law and do away with the `no win, no fee`, they will have to incur solicitors costs if they lose? It`s too complicated for me.


Hi Oldartform.

At a meeting with the PPC where Moseley and Gerry were complaining about the Press and the Lawyer, from Carter Ruck was there to represent the
McCanns , one of the Committe asked CR if the case was taken on a no win no fee basis, Adam said his Firm took a Retainer initially then worked on a NWNF basis. The Case against the Daily Express netted the McCanns £550,000 but because they were on a NWNF basis they didn't have to pay their Lawyers Fees, in fact the DE paid them. Had they lost, they would be liable to pay their Lawyers Fees and the DE Legal Fees, which would be payable by CR on the no win no fee deal.
Generally , a Lawyer will only take a case when they are confident they will win .

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Oldartform on Mon 26 Mar - 23:35

Panda wrote:
Oldartform wrote:I`m finding it difficult to get my head around this. So what is their motivation for doing this? Is it because if they sue someone for libel or defamation, they don`t want to pay any fees if they lose? At the moment the law says they don`t have to, but if the Tories change the law and do away with the `no win, no fee`, they will have to incur solicitors costs if they lose? It`s too complicated for me.


Hi Oldartform.

At a meeting with the PPC where Moseley and Gerry were complaining about the Press and the Lawyer, from Carter Ruck was there to represent the
McCanns , one of the Committe asked CR if the case was taken on a no win no fee basis, Adam said his Firm took a Retainer initially then worked on a NWNF basis. The Case against the Daily Express netted the McCanns £550,000 but because they were on a NWNF basis they didn't have to pay their Lawyers Fees, in fact the DE paid them. Had they lost, they would be liable to pay their Lawyers Fees and the DE Legal Fees, which would be payable by CR on the no win no fee deal.
Generally , a Lawyer will only take a case when they are confident they will win .

Hi Panda and thanks for that. So, without NWNF, they (and Jefferies) would have had to pay all lawyers fees whether they won or lost. Sorry to be so slow - its me age y`know !


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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  MaryB on Mon 26 Mar - 23:55

I don't really understand it. But sometimes the judge does award costs. But what gets me is this. Is it right that public funds should pay for a lawsuit and then people should be allowed to sell their story. Don't think this is right. No wonder they don't want less legal aid. It's a huge money spinner for the lawyers.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Panda on Tue 27 Mar - 1:05


Legal Aid when it was introduced was fine, it enables justice for anyone who could not afford to defend themselves or seek compensation. You can
only receive it if you have little money . The no win no Fee method has become popular for People who want to sue someone without incurring legal
Fees. Jefferies had a strong case because he was arrested on suspicion of murdering Joanne but proved to be innocent. He sued the Press because
his Lawyer was confident he would win, had he lost he would not have to pay the Lawyer .

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  AnnaEsse on Tue 27 Mar - 7:33

Panda wrote:
Legal Aid when it was introduced was fine, it enables justice for anyone who could not afford to defend themselves or seek compensation. You can
only receive it if you have little money . The no win no Fee method has become popular for People who want to sue someone without incurring legal
Fees. Jefferies had a strong case because he was arrested on suspicion of murdering Joanne but proved to be innocent. He sued the Press because
his Lawyer was confident he would win, had he lost he would not have to pay the Lawyer .

I was going to say something similar, Panda. It was a previous government, some time ago (I can't remember who, but you might!) who cut Legal Aid for civil cases and this gave rise to all those firms of solicitors going for no win/no fee agreements. If that hadn't happened, and people had still had to rely solely on means tested Legal Aid, the McCanns wouldn't have got Legal Aid on their income.

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  Panda on Tue 27 Mar - 8:07

AnnaEsse wrote:
Panda wrote:
Legal Aid when it was introduced was fine, it enables justice for anyone who could not afford to defend themselves or seek compensation. You can
only receive it if you have little money . The no win no Fee method has become popular for People who want to sue someone without incurring legal
Fees. Jefferies had a strong case because he was arrested on suspicion of murdering Joanne but proved to be innocent. He sued the Press because
his Lawyer was confident he would win, had he lost he would not have to pay the Lawyer .

I was going to say something similar, Panda. It was a previous government, some time ago (I can't remember who, but you might!) who cut Legal Aid for civil cases and this gave rise to all those firms of solicitors going for no win/no fee agreements. If that hadn't happened, and people had still had to rely solely on means tested Legal Aid, the McCanns wouldn't have got Legal Aid on their income.

Morning AnnaEsse, No, I can't remember who cut Legal Aid for Civil cases , but what is worrying now is the huge sums paid out which makes Britain a great Country for Foreigners seeking Justice.
I don't know if you rem,ember the PPC Meeting , Adam ? was asked if the McCann case was taken on a no win no fee basis. He looked a bit taken aback for a minute and then replied "we received a retainer and then took the case on a NWNF arrangement." I thought at the time he was lying and checked the Accounts for 2008. Legal Fees were £68,799!!!!!!

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Re: oh dear gerry and kate in panic over possible law changes

Post  AnnaEsse on Tue 27 Mar - 8:35

Panda wrote:
AnnaEsse wrote:
Panda wrote:
Legal Aid when it was introduced was fine, it enables justice for anyone who could not afford to defend themselves or seek compensation. You can
only receive it if you have little money . The no win no Fee method has become popular for People who want to sue someone without incurring legal
Fees. Jefferies had a strong case because he was arrested on suspicion of murdering Joanne but proved to be innocent. He sued the Press because
his Lawyer was confident he would win, had he lost he would not have to pay the Lawyer .

I was going to say something similar, Panda. It was a previous government, some time ago (I can't remember who, but you might!) who cut Legal Aid for civil cases and this gave rise to all those firms of solicitors going for no win/no fee agreements. If that hadn't happened, and people had still had to rely solely on means tested Legal Aid, the McCanns wouldn't have got Legal Aid on their income.

Morning AnnaEsse, No, I can't remember who cut Legal Aid for Civil cases , but what is worrying now is the huge sums paid out which makes Britain a great Country for Foreigners seeking Justice.
I don't know if you rem,ember the PPC Meeting , Adam ? was asked if the McCann case was taken on a no win no fee basis. He looked a bit taken aback for a minute and then replied "we received a retainer and then took the case on a NWNF arrangement." I thought at the time he was lying and checked the Accounts for 2008. Legal Fees were £68,799!!!!!!

Panda, the unintended consequence of the change in the law regarding Legal Aid was business for all those 'ambulance chasers.' It made so much work for lawyers who saw the opportunity created.

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