This week we’re celebrating 15 years since ARAG launched in the UK, which has inevitably given us pause to reflect on developments over that time.

Of course, the world seems to have changed more over the past twenty months than any other period in our living memories but, even without a pandemic, the UK has seen particular legal and political turbulence, in recent years. In some respects, Covid-19 has slowed the pace of legislative change.

 

The five Prime Ministers holding office since ARAG launched have, between them, appointed ten different Secretaries of State for Justice, six of whom have been in office during the past five years. Perhaps it isn’t so surprising that we have had to endure quite so much reform.

Sadly, much of that reform has been inimical to ARAG’s founding principle and core purpose of ensuring access to justice for as many people and businesses as possible.

Legal Aid has been withdrawn for all but a very few types of case that it still isn’t sufficiently funded to support. Many court and tribunal buildings have been permanently closed and the delays and backlogs of cases in almost every area of law had already grown to unacceptable lengths, only to be compounded by the lockdowns.

All of this has made ARAG’s work even more important. The challenges have been huge but I am very proud of the manner in which the company has grown, steadily but surely, to meet them.

Today, we have more than two million policyholders whose families or businesses benefit from the legal support and protection that ARAG provides.

Since we launched, in 2006, ARAG has handled more than 300,000 before-the-event and after-the-event claims and answered even more legal advice calls, providing access to justice to hundreds of thousands of people who might not otherwise have been able to afford it.

At the same time, we have stood up for the rights of ordinary people, defending challenges to after-the-event insurance premiums for medical accident victims; giving strong, evidenced responses to consultations on the ever-changing legal landscape and continually refining our policies to provide the broadest and surest means of protecting a policyholder’s legal position.

From just six of us in 2006, ARAG has grown to almost 150 staff whose dedication and professionalism is responsible for the many awards bestowed upon the company in recent years and the praise and thanks I often hear from partners and policyholders alike.

It is this great team that gives me confidence ARAG will continue to grow, rise to overcome the new challenges we will inevitably face in the future and help even more people to protect and enforce their legal rights, in the 2020s and beyond.

Tony signature

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.

 
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