Lawyer Swarm Devours British Schools

If misery loves company, we ought to be happy that at least we aren’t the only society getting bled to the point of anemia by useless yet voraciously greedy trial lawyers. In Britain, they are going after schools like a swarm of the locusts they so closely resemble.

Official figures just published show that ten successful legal claims are being mounted every week in schools, with parents and pupils often gaining hefty cash payouts as a result of threats to sue over even the most minor grievances. In one case, a Doncaster pupil was awarded £2,000 after being exposed to bright light during a science experiment. In another case, a Surrey pupil was awarded £29,000 after he said he had suffered burns from sitting on a hot radiator. …

Only too typical was the £35,000 handed over to a pupil from Poole in Dorset, who hurt himself while performing the high jump, a settlement which makes a mockery of the very concept of competitive sport.

In the same fashion, a PE teacher from my home county of Kent recently told me that one of his pupils had been awarded £1,200 after his parents threatened the school with legal action over a minor ankle injury that occurred on the football field. The boy’s foot was not broken or even sprained, yet the head teacher decided that a settlement would be less costly than fighting the action through the courts.

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Another favorite tactic is to loot schools for failing to prevent alleged past bullying, a term that can be applied to almost any interaction between children.

Lured by the siren song of something at somebody else’s expense, kids’ parents aren’t the only ones lawyering up for a free ride.

Teachers themselves are getting in on the act, infected by the compensation virus. One Merseyside teacher was awarded £80,000 after she slipped and fell while walking between school buildings… Similarly, a music teacher from the south-west received £40,000 for an injury to her wrist which occurred when a door blew shut on a windy day. … Some teachers are taking legal action over claims they have been traumatised by the stress of dealing with unruly pupils.

Desperate schools have canceled recess, and replaced competitive sports with yoga class. But attempts to ward off lawyers by producing a suffocatingly risk-free environment only backfire:

The more head teachers and education bureaucrats try to avoid litigation by taking preventative action, such as banning geography trips or competitive sports, the more they play into the hands of the lawyers and the litigants.

This is because, in effect, they are admitting responsibility for every accident, every setback, that takes place on their premises. So the culture of litigation creates its own self-fulfilling cycle.

If not stopped, lawyers will eat everything in sight, bankrupting everyone in an impossible quest to satiate their pathological greed.

The solution can be found in American history. Once Western settlers lived in terror of locusts. But as the wild land was tamed, swamps were drained (“wetlands” in Liberalese), robbing the locusts of their breeding grounds.

Likewise, lawyers breed in swamps — located in places like Washington and London — where they slither and slip in a morass of campaign cash kicked back from ligation looting sprees.

One prime factor is the introduction of ‘no-win, no-fee’ litigation by the last Labour government, which, of course, was full of lawyers such as Tony Blair and Jack Straw.

Before this change, litigants had to take the risk that, if they lost their case, they would end up paying all the legal costs of any action, including those of the defendant. But many believe that ‘no-win, no-fee’ liberates them from the consequences of losing and therefore encourages irresponsibility.

Only by draining these swamps thoroughly can we return from moonbattery to sanity.

Lawyers devouring someone else’s property.

On a tip from Air2air. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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