District Judge David Oldham, who replaced Edwina Millward as President in March, said the civil courts remained the “Cinderella” of the justice system and fees have increased to “draconian levels”.

“Legal aid has virtually disappeared in civil cases and so the proportion of litigants without legal representation has soared,” he said.
His aim, “as the recession brings more and more individuals to the county courts, [is] to ensure ... access to free and efficient expert advice and assistance from a duty solicitor or CAB or other advice agency which is independent of HM Courts Service”.

Since the Woolf reforms a decade ago, civil claims are settling at a higher rate than ever and contested cases are coming on for trial earlier, he said.

A justice system which forced litigants with good claims to abandon them because of the expense of going to the law was “deficient.”
District Judge Monty Trent has been elected Senior Vice President of the Association, and District Judge Paul Mildred is the new Junior Vice President.