LEI back on agenda

Is legal expenses insurance (LEI) about to be rediscovered? Some like the Lord Chancellor have never forgotten their hopes for the cover.

First, LEI is not dead as our front page item about the new private insurance scheme for conditional fees shows. But the market is largely a hotchpotch of specialist add-ons and block schemes, with few providers offering the full stand-alone LEI policies that presumably Treasury Secretary Jonathan Aitken was calling for.

The major insurers are unlikely to jump back into a market from which they have largely extricated themselves. And Aitken's department is not likely to give them tax relief on premiums to entice them in, as some suggest.

But the minister is right – the opportunity and need are there. Perhaps it will take a direct insurer to show the insurance market how it can be done and persuade the public of LEI's value.