Law Society fights to see Government Road Traffic Portal fees research

The Law Society, the independent body which represents solicitors in England and Wales, has restated its request for the Government to publish the study it commissioned from an academic, regarding costs in personal injury cases.
The Ministry of Justice has rejected the Society’s request, considered under Freedom of Information (FOI) provisions, to disclose the full report, which the Ministry received from Professor Paul Fenn, of Nottingham Business School.
The Law Society has now requested a review of this decision.
Desmond Hudson, Chief Executive of the Law Society, said:
“It is hard to understand why the Government is refusing to share or publish in full the research, which it commissioned from a respected academic, Professor Fenn. Since it received Professor Fenn’s evidence, the Government has published its proposals for changing fixed recoverable costs relating to personal injury claims in road accidents. Presumably the Government commissioned the factual study to inform its thinking on how fixed costs might be changed.
“The Government should base its policymaking on a sound factual basis. The alternative is that the Government’s proposals are based on Ministers’ own preconceived ideas or on lobbying from the insurance sector. Why will it not now share that factual evidence? Is it perhaps that the changes the Government has proposed are not supported by Fenn’s study?
“This matters for anyone injured in a car accident. Lower fixed costs reduce their chances of securing their proper payout from the insurance company.
“We believe that the Government is hiding behind a misapplication of the Freedom of Information Act in order to save its blushes. The factual evidence should be published so that we can all see it for ourselves. Transparency in policymaking will help to reinforce trust in Government and the political process.”
22 February 2013

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