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Conditional Fee Agreements

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the effect of conditional fee agreements on legal services, with particular reference to access to justice. [106198]

My Department has a comprehensive research programme into the impact of CFAs. The first report was published in July 2002 on the "The impact of conditional fees on the selection, handling and outcomes of personal injury cases" by Paul Fenn, Alistair Gray, Neil Rickman and Howard Carrier. This study analysed cases that closed prior to the introduction of the April 2000 Access Justice Reforms and produced baseline data for assessing the effects of changes in recoverability rules and for charting developments in the mechanisms being used to fund personal injury claims.My Department recently commissioned further research that will consider the effects of making success fees and after-the-event insurance premiums recoverable. The study will also consider the handling of clinical negligence cases and investigate the role being played by funding mechanisms in these cases and review experience in relation to funding mechanisms in other European jurisdictions.The research has started and is due to be completed in the summer of 2004.