Submission to Justice Committee inquiry into the future of legal aid

This submission to the UK Parliament’s Justice Committee inquiry into the future of legal aid focuses on the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LAPSO) Act on access to remedy in the context of international abuses of human rights by UK multinational corporations.

In order to retain its leadership on business and human rights and meet its commitments on access to justice in the context of Brexit, the UK must take the following steps:

  • Introduce a Human Rights Exception to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, to ensure: the ability to recover success fees from defendants; that ATE insurance premiums do not have to be paid from compensation awarded to victims.
  • Ensure provision of legal aid for human rights cases brought by overseas claimants against UK multinational companies, in line with the aforementioned current draft of the UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.
  • After Brexit, remove the Rome II provision stipulating that damages in tort cases must be assessed by reference to local levels.
  • After Brexit, retain Article 2 of Brussels I Regulation (Recast) stipulating that “subject to this regulation, persons domiciled in a Member State shall, whatever their nationality, be sued in the courts of that Member State”.
  • Introduce a ‘Failure to Prevent’ law on human rights and the environment, based on provisions in the 2010 Bribery Act, Section 7: mandate companies to undertake ‘human rights and environmental due diligence’ across their supply chains, and hold them liable when they fail to prevent harmful human rights or environmental impacts.
  • Support the UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.
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