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Dowler family urge government not to change ‘no-win, no-fee’ system


The family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler have written to David Cameron stating that the proposed changes to the ‘no win, no fee’ system would have prevented them from taking legal action against News International and have asked the prime minister not to proceed with the planned changes.


In July this year it was revealed in the phone hacking scandal that Milly Dowler’s mobile phone had been hacked after she went missing and messages were deleted which gave the family false hope that she may still be alive.  They took legal action against News International and this week it has been reported that a settlement has been reached with News International paying £2m in compensation to the family and a further £1m paid by Rupert Murdoch personally to charity.

In the letter from the Dowler family they stated that they were fortunate they were able to pursue their claim with the benefit of the ‘no-win, no-fee’ system and if this had not been available to them then they “would not have been able to start a case or even threaten it”.  They added: “We had understood that you were on the side of the people, not the press.  Please do not change the law so that the ability to sue the papers is lost”.

Earlier this year the Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke announced plans to change the ‘no-win, no-fee’ system to prevent “spurious cases” being brought to the courts.  The changes would mean the scrapping of a “success fee” paid to the lawyers of the successful party from the losing side and instead they will receive a share of the damages.


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