The one and the many
In cases where more than one individual is considering pursuing a personal claim injury resulting from the actions or omissions of a third party, it may be more appropriate to bring a class action. A class action is when a group of individuals seek group representation to bring an action on their behalf. A class action is a strategy often used by consumer groups to bring an action against companies or organisations indulging in anti-competitive behaviour. The UK government recently changed the law to give consumers better access to justice by making the default position for a class action “opt out”, meaning that an individual will automatically be assumed to be part of the class action unless he specifically and knowingly “opts out”, perhaps because he wishes to bring his own individual action. In general terms, this should benefit the man in the street, giving him representation by consumer bodies or other organisations acting on his behalf, when the individual himself may not have the resources to fight the case.
Personal injury law
The new “opt-out” regime broadly applies only the law in the area of competition and not to other areas of the law. In the case of personal claim injury and accident instances, these tend to be individual claims. Personal claim injury law is complex and it is important a claimant finds the right expert for the circumstances of his case. There are plenty of resources which specialise in personal claim injury expertise, ranging from online compensation providers, legal firms and solicitors’ partnerships, The Law Society and the like. Consumer bodies like the Citizens’ Advice Bureau can offer general advice and in some instances, information.
Libraries too, are good sources of information and also valuable portals of access to the internet for the surprising number of households in the UK who are socially and economically disadvantaged by not being online. Staggeringly, 25% of adults in the UK have never used the internet and around 30% do not have internet access. Those who advocate closing libraries, claiming that books are “so last century”, forget that libraries provide a whole range of life-saving services to the disadvantaged people in our society.