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Hard knocks

Compensation culture is a myth that Lord Young's vague and ill-considered report will only perpetuate, says Alexandra Lush

4 October 2010

It has become a commonly held misconception over the last ten years that the UK is in the grip of a ‘compensation culture’. It is a perception stimulated by the press in familiar headlines such as “Health and safety chiefs ban candy floss sticks” and “Health and safety risks stop children playing pin the tail on the donkey”, where, in reality, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has banned very little outright.

Despite the lack of actual evidence to support the existence of a compensation culture, the personal injury litigation system is attracting renewed attention with the report of Lord Young of Graffham into the operation of health and safety laws. His report will be the third event to shake up the area this year after the Jackson report into civil litigation costs in January, and the streamlining of the compensation system for low-cost road traffic accidents (RTA) claims in April.

However, unlike Jackson LJ’s report, which followed a 12-month consul...

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