MoJ to lift ban on contingency fees in revamp of no-win, no-fee system

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  • Not a surprise to see the reaction from Claimant firms such as Thompsons and Irwins. Why don't they just say what they are really thinking...'we're the ones who are going to lose out as we can't continue to charge excessive and disproportionate levels of costs!"
    I am a Defendant lawyer who deals with costs on a daily basis....in my view these changes are long overdue. Whenever I speak with lay people and tell them about the level of legal costs claimed in cases in comparison to the amount of damages paid, they are astonished. It is incredible that Claimant firms have been able to get away with it for so long.

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  • I am neither lawyer nor currently working for a claimant firm but I have worked with many people who have required compensation for very serious injury and who have received it after a thorough battle with a guilty (liable) party.
    Leaving aside what the talented claimant lawyers are paid as of course defendent lawyers would never claim full costs or look to make profit, the real tragedy is asking those seriously injured to give up part of their carefully calculated compensation to pay for that battle.
    This is not about lawyers it is about the victims.

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  • Quite simple.A wholly one sided and partial proposal that has no grip on reality. The only aim is clearly to keep business happy and deter claims. This is a very sad day for the underdog.

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  • This is a poor decision by the government. As a claimant lawyer, I know that the reason our costs are in some cases on the high side is mainly because defendants' insurers do very little to progress the claim and it leaves us with no option but to litigate. What also doesn't help is if the defendant's solicitor decides to defend the claim on all issues, even when the claim is relatively straightforward.
    The decision to ban success fees and increase damages by 10% does nothing to help anyone. Even though solicitors can take 25% of the claimant's damages, how is this making access to justice more available for the claimant? The whole point of personal injury law is to put the claimant in the position they would had been in but for their injury. Forcing solicitors to take a chunk of the damages will not do anything to help claimants and if anything will give the general public an even more bitter taste in their mouths regarding lawyers.
    What the defendant insurers and solicitors seem to forget is that if claimant solicitors cannot afford to bring claims because it is simply not profitable, then they too will eventually be finding themselves in a difficult position.

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  • These proposals remind me of the fiasco of HIPS. I do not doubt that Jackson LJ is well intentioned and genuinely belives that he is promoting a wise solution to the problem of disproportionate costs, but in the real world litigation practitioners know that the practical effect of these reforms will be that we will be forced to turn away injured and other vulnerable clients who we no longer be able to help and they will have no remedy. It is not us lawyers who will suffer, we will change our business models and carry on. It will be the consumer who suffers, and in years to come these reforms will be recognised as a bad mistake and yet another reforming measure will be needed.

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  • I work for a specialist PI firm.
    Most of our claims are low value RTAs where liability is admitted and the success fee is minimal. We are talking about losing a couple of hundred pounds a claim, at most. This could be recovered from the client as part of a contingency fee or, more likely, written off.
    The people who will suffer most are those involved in complex cases where the prospects of success are not clear cut. They could struggle to get a solicitor.
    Nevertheless, in the current market where work is often difficult to attract, I am confident there will always be someone willing to take these on.

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  • Very good moj

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