Essay Example on Which The Woolf Reforms of the civil justice system have been a Major Success

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In this essay I will be examining ways in which The Woolf Reforms of the civil justice system have been a major success This essay will also cover the limitation of the Woolf Reforms however to some further extend the benefits of the Woolf Reforms The civil justice review system 1986 was inadequate because costs were disproportionate to the claim Delay was also one of the biggest issues when looking at the civil justice review as relevant data used as evidence for witnesses would be damaged There was Complexity with simple cases going to the high court and tying up time for other cases One reason why the Woolf Reforms was a success was that of the timescale of litigation The process was very simple for case management The case would determine which courts to attend according to the hierarchy of the courts starting from the Magistrate's court to the Supreme court Three tracks were created Small claim tracks are up to 10 000 fast tracks between 100 000 and 25 000 lastly multi tracks which are over 25 000 This would be sufficient as the cases would be dealt with in time There is also a hierarchy of courts Woolf argued that for a system to be just there must be principles that need to be followed some of the principles were as follows cost proportionate to the issues involved be understandable to those who use it be effective adequately resourced and organized However his principles didn't really have a positive effect on the civil justice system by introducing the proportionality into the civil procedure rules it downgraded justice on the merits As everyone was so committed to achieving proportionality 1998 Conditional fee agreements order CFA was also introduced by the Woolf reforms


There are several advantages of CFA Lawyers will be confident and determined as they would have done their research before taking the case as they would need to weigh out the chances of winning prior The reason for this is because the fee will depend on the lawyers who won The clients will be stress free as there will be no advance fee taken There will also be free from the anxiety of having to pay huge fees CFA could encourage early settlement as the other parties cost could increase meaning it would be on the level of the success fee Lastly there will be no delays or tension with legal aid However some people might disagree as Solicitors may not be willing to take the chance as it can be very risky especially with weak cases Lawyers might have their mind set on the winning fee that they will completely fail to provide the court with specific documents This could lead to lawyers suborning evidence and coaching the witness Lawyers might also do an improper cross examination Woolf Reforms then came up with the idea of having a fixed cost for all disputes costing up to 15 000 which only wasted time and money in the court Jacksons recommended to reduce CFA s and private individuals would have to pay for their own lawyers success fees Jackson reforms also ensured that parties would have to pay their costs seven days before the hearing Civil procedure Rules CPR made sure that claimant s and lawyers followed the rules otherwise there would be sanctions and penalties through the court CPR also gives guidance on specific claims There are three different types of ADR Mediation conciliation and arbitration which resolve disputes without having to attend the court ADR is much cheaper therefore can be affordable to any class


There is also less stress involved ADR is less time consuming but most importantly it can avoid the costs of any penalties to some extent ADR is an alternative to litigations as it also saves a lot of resources as well as money Another reason why ADR would be more beneficial is that it's more private and especially with celebrities as they don t want detail to be released to the public ADR can encourage earlier settlement because the other party's cost exposure will increase in line with the level of the success fee ADR has disadvantages such as an imbalance of power which isn t fair to the opposing party There are also risks of misuse from meditation There might be lack of legal expertise meaning that court would be necessary The Woolf Reforms failed to discuss domestic violence one of the key issues within the civil justice systems In the article by Jamie Doward several points have been made to reform the civil justice system for domestic violence Vulnerable victims and witnesses will no longer have to be present in court for their partners to be humiliated rather it would be much safer to take a recording of them as they would feel relaxed and speak for themselves with no pressure No actions are being taken and this is having a huge impact on rape victims as they are unable to come forward and make complaints In conclusion the Woolf Reforms was a success as it reduced the cost of litigation and allowed individuals from all classes to solve their disputes through ADR It was more cost efficient to the court and while there were some critics the Woolf Reforms have outshined the disadvantages and are a triumph in the civil justice system



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