Irish hit back at 'negligence culture' claims

IRISH solicitors claim they have given their business community a “bloody nose” during a media scrap over ambulance chasing allegations.

The Law Society of Ireland has accused the Irish business community of fostering a “negligence culture” in an effort to counter claims that no win no fee rules are encouraging spurious compensation actions.

The society is currently reviewing its advertising code in an effort to curb advertising it considers objectionable such as touting for trade in casualty wards.

It will also ensure any firm advertising for no win no fee clients clearly states the finer details of the arrangements so they are not misled.

But it has combined this review with a vigorous defence of the role of solicitors in the face of business community claims.

Ireland, with a claims rate 40 per cent higher than that in the UK, is currently dominated by a compensation culture.

Speaking on national radio, Law Society director general Ken Murphy said: “We think that in fact what we have in this country is a negligence culture rather than a compensation culture and that if the real issue is to be addressed it should be the level of accidents that take place and the severity of injuries.”

Murphy said afterwards: “We are very pleased with the way this media exchange has worked out. Even though we are dealing with the Irish equivalent of the CBI with a very professional public relations machine I think we've given them a bloody nose.”

He added that the Law Society would shortly be releasing details of its new advertising code.