Excuse me?

by Chris Bertram on September 16, 2005

I hesitate to come over all Mel P here, but I was astonished to read “the following bit of opportunism”:http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/breaking/view=newsarticle.law?GAZETTENEWSID=252206 in the Law Society Gazette from the Solicitors’ Pro Bono Group:

bq. The government should not profit from compensation payments made to victims of the London bombings when its own policies may have contributed to the attacks, the Solicitors Pro Bono Group (SPBG) claimed last week. SPBG acting chief executive Robert Gill said that lawyers had not provided advice to victims free of charge ‘so that the government could save money’. ….

bq. ‘It is normal for CICA payments to be taken off benefits, but in these circumstances it should be different. It is about a particular set of actions which in part were brought about by the fact that Britain has taken a prominent role in Iraq – which was a government decision. Government action is part of the reason [for the events], so it is not fair that the government should benefit from private citizens who are injured.’

The government quite reasonably insists that the same rules apply for all Criminal Injuries compensation cases and that bomb victims should be treated the same as everyone else.



Harry B 09.16.05 at 7:24 am

Odd initials. Are they trying to be confused with the SPG, or the SPGB?


Yarrow 09.16.05 at 9:10 am

Some context for the UK-clueless please: what does it mean that “victims who are currently in receipt of benefits will have the amount of the CICA payment deducted from their benefits”? That sounds to me like people receiving government payments for something else will have those benefits docked in the amount of the CICA payments, which does seem like the kind of thing to which pro-bono lawyers might object on behalf of their clients.

I don’t know that such a policy is more obnoxious when the victims are victims of terrorism rather than (say) common and garden variety murder; but I don’t see why it’s opportunism on the part of the lawyers to object to it.


Chris Bertram 09.16.05 at 9:22 am

The opportunistic part isn’t that they are saying that victims shouldn’t have their benefits reduced, nor is it necessarily opportunistic to say that victims of terrorism in general should be treated differently (though I don’t think they should). The opportunistic bit is — obviously — that they base the claim that these victims should be treated differently on a suggestion that the goverment is co-responsible (with the terrorists) for the bombings.


Yarrow 09.16.05 at 9:37 am

“The opportunistic bit is—obviously—that they base the claim that these victims should be treated differently … ”

Ah! I’d taken your post to be accusing them of opportunistically lining their own pockets in some way, and couldn’t figure out how. Instead you’re accusing them of advancing an argument in an intellectually shabby way. Fair enough—but isn’t that what lawyers do?

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