I would like to correct some misconceptions fuelled by John Jackson in his comment piece (Comment, 3 February).
Replacing legal aid with conditional fee agreements will not "open the floodgates" to clinical negligence cases. It will, in fact, slam the door to justice for many injured people, as few insurers are willing to cover what are perceived to be risky cases.
It is already notoriously difficult for injured people to bring a claim against the NHS, and this proposal will exacerbate the problem.
Injured people already have to jump through hoops to claim against the NHS - which is why, out of around 850,000 adverse incidents in the NHS each year, only 1% make a claim.
John Jackson's suggestion that claimants should "put up a minimum fee before taking legal action" is insulting in the extreme. Injured people should not have to pay to seek justice. People do not have to pay a levy on NHS treatment - why should they pay when things go wrong?
It is all well and good dwelling on the old days and wishing for a "return to legal aid". The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers never wanted legal aid to be replaced in the first place, and campaigned vigorously for its retention. Back-pedalling at this late stage, though, is simply not an option as too much time and effort has been invested in making the current system work.
By the way, any time John Jackson wants to stop harping on about the non-existent compensation culture and talk seriously about the need for a safety culture in our society, he's welcome to contact me.
President, Association of Personal Injury Lawyers