A Nottingham professor has been appointed by the Ministry of Justice to scrutinise the 'no win, no fee' arrangements in England and Wales, it was announced today.
Professor Paul Fenn, of the Nottingham University Business School, will be part of a team of senior academics to carry out research into whether such arrangements are giving people proper access to justice and operating in the public interest.
Professor Fenn will join Professor Richard Moorhead of Cardiff Business School and Professor Neil Rickman of the School of Economics at the University of Surrey to examine the concerns around 'no win, no fee' - covering both conditional fees and contingency fees - and to look at whether they are currently too expensive for clients.
Speaking on the news of his appointment, Professor Fenn said: "The emergence of no win, no fee agreements has generated much debate. We believe there is a pressing need for independent, objective research to inform policy in relation to this debate."
The academic team will consider how best to:
- Identify representative samples of claims data in personal injury, employment and defamation/privacy cases
- Examine the nature of funding arrangements in these cases and the outcome
- Identify random samples of clients and legal advisers that may help provide more detailed data about the understanding of quality and change within the legal services sector
- Analyse the unmet legal needs in the area of personal injury, employment and defamation/privacy
Justice Minister Bridget Prentice said: "No win, no fee arrangements are vital in helping to give the public a voice in courts. However, we are aware of growing concerns that they may not always be operating in the interests of access to justice.
"We feel that now is the appropriate time for a comprehensive, objective and evidence-based examination of the operation of no win, no fee arrangements in relation to personal injury, employment and defamation/privacy cases."
We believe there is a pressing need for independent, objective research to inform policy in relation to this debate. Professor Paul Fenn
Nottingham University Business School
Professor Paul Fenn's background is in applied microeconomics, particularly in relation to the interaction between law, health and insurance. He has written or edited four books and numerous articles in peer reviewed journals on the general themes of liability insurance, medical negligence, and the economics of the legal services market.
He has coordinated research projects on these issues for the Department of Health and the Ministry for Justice and has recently completed a research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council's Public Services Quality programme on Liability, Risk-Pooling and Health Care Quality. He is a member of the University of Nottingham's Centre for Risk and Insurance Studies, one of the leading research centres in its field.
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Notes to editors: Nottingham University Business School is renowned for its internationally excellent research and is among the world's top 100 business schools in the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings.
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THES) World University Rankings.
It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation "” School of Pharmacy).
Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.