It's reported this morning that the so-called 'compensation culture' is to be swept away by new reforms, proposed by Lord Young. Very importantly, people performing first aid or other "good samaritan" acts should no longer be able to be sued in personal injury cases, according to the peer.
Lord Young will also recommend that emergency service workers, including police and ambulance staff, should be exempt from lawsuits for breaching health and safety rules where they are risking their own safety to assist others or to stop crime.
In the last five years, the NHS alone has spent £8billion on compensation.
Teachers are set to be spared the burden of filling in reams of paperwork, including "risk assessments" before they can take pupils on trips while injuries suffered by pupils either on trips or playing games should no longer be able to spark lawsuits - unless there is clear evidence of "reckless disregard".
Firework displays, street parties and concerts should no longer be able to be banned unilaterally by councils. Organisers are likely to get the right to challenge any decision - with an independent ombudsman ruling on contentious cases.
Lawyers who offer "no win, no fee agreements" face a crackdown - including a ban on them recovering costly "success fees" from defendants while judges are likely to be given discretion to cap costs that claimants can recover in personal injury cases.
While, as a councillor, I worry about the control of fireworks parties from a purely anti-social perspective, as I find that alcohol and explosives rarely mix well unless sensible precautions are observed. I welcome a common sense approach to the many other problems that our obsessive health and safety culture has delivered and in particular the introduction of a 'Good Samaritan' rule which exists in the that most litigious of all countries, the United States and not here. In recent years, we've seen the aberration of people dying needlessly because the emergency services stood-by because they weren't allowed to use their personal judgement to save life when circumstances demanded a personal judgement call.