An overwhelming majority of lawyers believe that wealth is becoming a more important factor than it used to be in gaining access to justice.
The finding emerges from a survey of more than 500 lawyers by London firm Hodge Jones & Allen. More than four out of five lawyers believe the justice system is not accessible to all members of the public, according to the Innovation in Law Report 2014.
Six in 10 lawyers believe there is little trust among the public in the fairness of the judicial process.
One respondent said: 'I see the rule of law slowly becoming eroded as access to courts and tribunals (assisted by competent representation) become affordable only to the very poor or to the very rich.'
Half of lawyers think the Jackson civil litigation reforms 'benefit business and government rather than the ordinary people', with 58% agreeing that 'compliance with court orders now takes precedence over the delivery of justice', particularly hitting litigants in person, who many believe are now being denied access to justice.
Two-thirds of respondents said 'the taking of a percentage of damages, instead of success fees, is to the detriment of the claimant'.
With new entrants to the market and increased competition, nine out of 10 lawyers think big practices will start to dominate the market - 89% predict more multi-disciplinary professional services, 72% believe consumer brands will soon enter the market in a significant way, and 79% think international super-brands will emerge.
As a result, nine out of 10 lawyers think there will be an commoditisation of legal services, and the same number believe management will be dominated by non-legally trained staff.
Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of lawyers would not recommend the legal profession as a career, with only 55% of those surveyed intending to carry on in the law for the rest of their careers.
Three-quarters of lawyers think senior positions throughout the profession are dominated by 'white, public school-educated men', with only 12% feeling it is easy to combine being a mother with developing a legal career.
Other findings include: