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A CONDITIONAL fees insurance scheme has been launched by a private firm several weeks ahead of the Law Society's own less wide-ranging insurance package.
The premiums offered by Litigation Protection are significantly higher than the Accident Line Protect scheme to be launched by the society in mid-August.
But insurance will be available through all solicitors and for all classes of 'no win, no fee' agreements, while its rival will be restricted to personal injury non-medical negligence cases handled by firms with solicitors on the society's Accident Line panel.
For an extra premium the company's clients will also be able to insure themselves against having their damages swallowed up by costs.
The cheapest premium offered by Litigation Protection is £175 to cover up to £10,000 in non medical negligence personal injury cases.
For up to £50,000 cover in a medical negligence case, clients will have to pay £4,250.
The scheme, sponsored by the society, plans to offer up to £100,000 indemnity for a blanket fee of less than £100.
David Hartley, of the society's legal practice directorate, says Chancery Lane is investigating the possibility of medical negligence insurance once the initial scheme has been launched.
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers president Michael Napier describes the Litigation Protection scheme as "imaginative".
He says: "To have competition in the market is a good thing, particularly so for firms which are not members of Accident Line as well as for those who are looking for insurance for medical negligence cases."
Litigation Protection managing director Brian Raincock says: "An awful lot of people don't want to use the Law Society's scheme. They don't seem very keen on the Law Society at the moment."