The Government's handling of the introduction of conditional fee agreements for personal injury cases has been criticised as a "shambles" by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).

Ian Walker, APIL president, said the Government has failed to publish detailed rules on how "no win, no fee" agreements would operate in practice. This is despite promising the legal funding reforms would be up and running by April 1.

Walker said the situation was a "shambles" since cases funded by conditional fee agreements could not proceed to court until the rules had been finalised. He says: "No personal injury client has been able to sign a conditional fee agreement because the Government has failed to comply with its own timetable that the reforms would be in place by April 1."

A spokesman for the Lord Chancellor's department said the Government was confident the rules, published in February would finalised by May.