Why equality before the law is at stake

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Have your say

From: Alan Thorn, Burr Sugden Solicitors, Keighley.

Peter Watson misses one major point in his excellent article (Yorkshire Post, July 19). He writes of a claimant facing a judge and insurance company on his own.

He omits to say that the insurance company will be represented at trial by an experienced barrister, instructed by an equally experienced firm of solicitors, who will also handle the negotiations.

Their interests will be those of the insurer, and they will seek to deflect or minimise the claim.

The small claims court was introduced in 1973, with, I believe, a limit of £100. It now stands at £1,000 in injury claims and £5,000 in all others.

A claimant who has a dispute with a multilateral company over goods or services will either have to represent himself or risk losing a large proportion of his award in legal fees, while the opponent won’t send the warehouse manager to represent them, but will instruct lawyers.

That’s all very well for the well-educated and well-heeled, but what about those who are less able to represent themselves and who are, say, on a small pension? They’ll be outgunned from the outset. And now the Ministry of Justice wants to extend it to injury claimants.

Yes, I accept that there’s an element of self-interest, in that solicitors acting for claimants 
will not get as much work, but there’s a greater issue at stake here, that of equality before the law.

With all the steps away from it that our government is taking, can it be long before they reintroduce trial by combat?

And of course, as in the Middle Ages, the wealthy will be able to hire a champion to fight for them, while the rest of us, peasants all, will have to fight for ourselves.

And in any event, in which parallel universe is £5,000 a small amount?

Missing the point of Brid

From: Terry Morrell, Prunus Avenue, Willerby.

Chris Berry identified exactly what Bridlington stands for in his article in the YP Magazine – a traditional family seaside resort! The wide bay and glorious sands and a variety of pursuits around the harbour and town are exactly what people want on a nice day.

It is a pity that East Riding Council’s planners have seriously missed the point with their “Area Action Plan”, currently before a government inspector.

As Chris points out, there is little point in trying to compete the likes of Scarborough and Whitby, or for Leeds and Meadowhall with wonderful shopping complexes.

Bridlington needs to concentrate on finding an attraction that no-one else can match to get people there 365 days a year and then be sure that they are properly catered for when they arrive.

Brid is great when the sun shines but when the weather turns there is absolutely nothing, not even a shelter along the front for families to take refuge in a sudden storm and, of course, nothing happening in the evenings.

Fancy spending £25m on refurbishing the Spa to attract the conference trade, etc and failing to provide a decent on-site hotel with a car park (for at least the top table people)?

On which planet do these people live? The mind boggles.

Stuck on the slow train

From: John Rookes Bramley, Rotherham.

A recent television programme confirmed to me that we are literally decades behind the Japanese and French when it comes to transport by railroad.

Back in the 1960s the Japanese were operating trains at speeds faster than our fastest trains to date, the French have recently tested a new AGV to 357mph while our government pussy-foots around deciding whether to go ahead with faster links to the north from London.

If it happens, you can bet it will be less than half speed by comparison. Our trains are like our government’s thinking, way out of date.

No faith in Cameron

From: David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Holgate, York.

I usually agree with most of what your columnist Bernard Ingham says and thinks, but I in no way agree with him on his support for PM Cameron (Yorkshire Post, July 18). I do agree that Cameron needs to do a great deal better, but he cannot, partly because of the Liberal Democrats hanging round his neck and partly because he is no “Tory”, but very much a “wet” liberal.

Cameron knows full well the nation’s views on the euro, the EU, the war in Afghanistan, foreign aid, the bankers, immigration, crime, the NHS, the “cuts” in the wrong areas, the tax dodging by the mega-rich and big business, homosexual and lesbian “marriages”, welfare payments, grammar schools, and many more right wing topics, but dares not to carry out the wishes of so many of the English voting public.

Only about 12 per cent of voters supported the Conservatives in May 2010, because much as they disliked Labour and the Liberal Democrats, they had no faith in Cameron.

I have lived in England for nearly 66 years and never before have I been so unhappy and in such total despair with our political parties. Only Ukip offer me any hope for the future!

Query over Vulcan’s flag

From: Dennis Whitaker Baildon, Shipley.

On Sunday, July 15, I visited Farnborough Air Show with a close relative.

We had a most interesting day and were lucky enough to see a full flying display. The Vulcan, in flight, was one of the most impressive displays, however, my young relative is obsessed with the Union Flag being displayed correctly. On static display, we viewed the Vulcan from port and starboard and he has suggested that the Union Flag on the port fin in displayed correctly whereas on the starboard side, it is incorrect.

I would welcome clarification from a higher authority!