Thompsons, the UK's leading trade union and personal injury law firm, has welcomed the Lord Chancellor's indication that he will not be raising the small claims limit.

His comments come a week after he described trade union legal services as the "foundation stone to a progressive and fair society" and said that he did not want to adversely affect their work.

Raising the small claims limit in personal injury cases to £5,000, as proposed by the Better Regulation Task Force, would deny thousands of injured people the right to legal representation. It would affect the majority of union-backed cases.

Research by UNISON, the largest public sector union revealed that 64% of respondents received awards of between £2,000 and £5,000 and that 63% of respondents would either not have proceeded with their case, or would not have felt confident going before a judge without legal representation.

Tom Jones of Thompsons said: "The Lord Chancellor acknowledges that unions are not part of the compensation culture. While we understand that he is committed to carrying out the research on small claims, his public recognition of the importance of trade union legal services and his assurances that he will not do anything to damage them is very welcome."