Opinion: Guilty firms should dig deep and repay miners

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  • These comments are bear no relation to the facts

    It’s sad to see that after so much time spent on looking at the issue of deductions from miners’ compensation, John Mann is still more interested in self-promotion rather than the interests of his constituents, as evidenced by his emotive and fact-sparse rant.

    He completely fails to distinguish between thoroughly disreputable solicitors like Beresford and those solicitors that simply made a deduction to go to Union funds and therefore was in fact to “help other miners” by way of a fee to underwrite their action if the claim was not accepted smoothly. Most of the firms named have not made additional money by way of deductions for extra fees, as implied by Mr. Mann, but instead have sent funds to the Unions, as a method of funding the actions.

    This distinction is crucial and must be obvious even to John Mann. His article is therefore thoroughly disingenuous. Who knows what defamatory remarks he has made in the course of his campaign?

    It is also simply untrue that miners are up in arms about what happened. Despite the massive publicity from him and indeed the SRA, the response rates to invitation to complain have been tiny. Why might one ask? Because the vast majority of miners are satisfied with a job well done by most solicitors, one would imagine.

    It is disappointing that Mr. Mann should quite brazenly attempt to tarnish the names of solicitors who, in good faith, sent deductions to unions, with the Beresfords brush. There is no justification for doing so. I am as appalled as anyone else by what Beresfords and other firms did, but it is a completely different situation to where firms have made deductions to go to a union.

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  • John Mann is correct

    It is Anonymous who is being ingenuous. The excellent Legal Complaints Service as part of its Rother Valley Pilot Scheme raised a very significant number of complaints from miners who had been badly let down by those who were supposed to assist them including it is entirely true to say their 'unions' as well as their lawyers. The time for solicitors to put their heads in the sand under the pretence that they can do no wrong is long gone. It is because of this uncommercial attitude and the fact that the Law Society was so poor in complaints handling that the quasi independent LCS (and the soon to be established entirely independent Office for Legal Complaints) became necessary.

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  • Opinion: Guilty firms should dig deep and repay miners

    I note with interest the above comments.

    It is also overlooked that solicitors conducting claims under the terms of the agreement the UDM entered into with the government received reduced scheme costs thus saving the taxpayer a very significant sum of money.

    Until recent events it has historically been normal for members to suport their Union financially, otherwise what does the word Union mean? Many of the claimants were no longer Union members so by agreeing with the Union the payment of a modest contribution (if the claim was a success) they received Union support and the benefit of the agreement the UDM had with the Government. In many cases the claimant signed up with the UDM before any referral to solicitors. Solicitors who have in good faith conducted the claims and provided full compensation to the claimant at reduced costs to the tax payer are being treated in the same way as others who made deductions for their own benefit.

    It is sad in my view that no journalist has been brave enough to look at all the issues objectively. There has been much publicity about the initial underestimation of the number of likely claims and the subsequent size of the scheme. No credit is provided to the Unions for all the hard work locating miners, arranging meetings and home visits etc. Has anyone asked the question how all this could have been funded? The funds for such did not come from the government, after all they are the Defendants and had no interest in pubisizing the right to claim. Access to justice does not come without cost to someone despite the marketing jargon. I would suggest most successful claimants who made a modest contribution to a Union of choice, more or less equivalent to union subscriptions see nothing wrong with the principle. Mistakes or errors of judgment may, with the benefit of hindsight, have been made, some more serious than others. I would suggest this comment has wider application than the practicitioners undertaking the claims. The Law Society and the regulators have referred to the complexity of the regulatory issues that have arisen and the Government was involved throughout. So my request is for balance, objectivity, and some fairness in reporting. I know it is a tall order and I am probably an idealist but that may be the reason I decided to enter the law in the first place.

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  • Miners' compensation

    Anonymous, you make some superficially fair points, but could you just answer two questions? 1 - Do you work for a firm that has made such deductions? 2 - Did you pay referral fees to the Union or anyone else for the work?

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  • To Ageing cynic

    Please explain why that is relevant. Either Anonymous makes fair points on the merits of his/her argument or he/she does not. This is a complex issue and ad hominem attacks do not help to illuminate it.

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  • Reply to ageing cynic

    (Assuming it's aimed at me, the first poster).

    No and no.

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  • Vested interests make objectivity difficult

    I think there were unpalatable aspects of the Beresfords/Vendside/UDM arrangements; to the extent that they may be a one-off. But there is a lot of sanctimonius and hypocritical tripe from those represented as the "union firms." I see no distinction between a miner who, in return for a fee paid to that introducer only, is fed through to a lawyer whether from a union or a claims management type organisation. BOTH provide a an essential marketing conduit.








    Subject to the current disclosure requirements, such a method of introduction of referral business is perfectly acceptable today and the only difference is the rather pathetic attempt by the union firms to claim some higher moral ground where none exists.










    I have done union and non-union PI work for 20 years and I have never noticed a different objective. All claimants want competent representation. In this instance (ignoring the Beresfords MO) the claimants do not care whether they are paying arrears of subs, contributions to a fund or, a deduction. They are simply interested in their claim being successfully pursued with the least possible deduction. Thousands of men used knowingly turned their backs on union representation because it would mean facing a higher deduction than through a claims-management organisation. It seems to me these men were objective in their thinking and certainly not mis-led.

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