With the pace of change in legal services showing few signs of letting up, Premextra understands the value some may find in moments of reprieve. Here we report on the possibilities that delays could be in the offing, even for the unstoppable Jackson Reform juggernaut.
As Premextra reported in November, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill had been mauled in the House of Lords. This was demonstrated more recently by the news that just short of 200 amendments had been tabled for LASPO as of Monday 19th December.
Shortly after the Lords' debate Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke then revealed he would be delaying aspects of the legal aid reforms which had proven so unpopular. The question therefore became, would the stopwatch be held for the Jackson reforms as well? Rachel Rothwell postulated on this in the Law Society Gazette, reporting that the answer was a definite 'no' but then went on to ask: 'Isn't this crazy?'
"Jackson has said time and again that his reforms must be implemented as a package; they cannot be phased in bit by bit..." she said. "To say that the Civil Procedure Rules Committee (CPRC) has got its work cut out would be something of an understatement. So why does the government seem determined to press on with implementation at such break-neck speed? Isn't it more important that it's done right, than done quickly?"
Rothwell's sources within the MOJ appeared to be pointing toward a six month delay in Jackson's implementation, with April 2013 now the more likely date.
Whatever the outcome, it appears that the reformist lobby may not be able to rest on its laurels regarding the Jackson reforms. The job of persuading may be over but it will be interesting to hear how much leg work can be done to keep the changes on track without delay.