Barristers excluded from fees insurance

A LAW Society commitment to examine the possibility of barrister's fees being covered in its conditional fee insurance package has come to nothing.

Matthias Kelly, of the Personal Injuries Bar Association, says he is “disappointed” by the news that no part of counsel's fees will be included in the Law Society package.

At a meeting earlier this year with David Hartley, of the society's professional policy executive, personal injury barristers questioned whether a serious attempt had been made to incorporate counsel's fees in the Law Society's Accident Line Protect insurance scheme.

And they raised fears about the ethical problems of counsel having a financial involvement in a case.

Hartley promised to go back to the insurers to see whether paperwork and possibly interlocutory hearings could be covered by insurance, leaving only the brief fee unprotected.

But he says the insurers are not willing to include any aspect of barristers' fees in their package.

“The basic reason is that the insurance is not intended to cover clients' lawyers whether they be solicitors or barristers,” he says.

“But it is also important to keep the premiums down.”