An attack on the discount rate “would constitute one of the gravest injustices of all”, the new president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has warned as he set out his stall for the next year.
Matthew Stockwell, a barrister at St Johns Building Chambers, Liverpool, will take the reins at APIL’s annual general meeting at Celtic Manor on Thursday.
He specialises in serious injury litigation, including employers’ liability and clinical negligence claims. He takes over from Karl Tonks, partner and head of employers’ liability at Fentons.
At his inaugural speech to delegates in Newport, Mr Stockwell will call on the 4,500 APIL members to continue to meet new challenges on behalf of the injured people they represent.
Singling out the Ministry of Justice’s discount rate consultation – which is currently in its second phase – he will say: “I hope the government will consider this issue carefully and get it right because an attack on the discount rate would constitute one of the gravest injustices of all. It would not be about reducing fraud; it would not be about controlling the cost of litigation.
“An attack on the discount rate would simply amount to robbing seriously injured people of the damages they so desperately need.”
The new vice-president will be well-known campaigning solicitor John Spencer, director of Spencers Solicitors in Chesterfield and a former chairman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society. Stuart Kightley, who runs the personal injury department at Osbornes Solicitors in north London, will become APIL’s secretary. A frequent lecturer on costs and funding, he specialises in head injury and employers’ liability claims.