A NATIONAL network of law firms was launched amid controversy this week to "cultivate" multi-party personal injury claims.
ALeRT - Allied Lawyers Response Team - aims to spot potential multi-party actions and research the subject, then develop and co-ordinate claims.
The project has been masterminded by two Liverpool solicitors, Graham Ross and Norman Hughes, who claim their service will be "quicker than the AA".
But Tuesday's launch is coinciding with the screening of a BBC2 'Public Eye' documentary about the litigious nature of British society and the legal profession's willingness to cash in.
The investigation, 'If in doubt sue', quotes critics of lawyers who encourage clients to take action. Lord Templeman, a former Appeal Court judge, tells the programme that guards against "litigation culture" are being chipped away.
ALeRT pre-empted the controversy by issuing a point-by-point rebuttal of potential criticisms. It denied "ambulance chasing", giving false hope of compensation, creating a "victim society" and discouraging medical research by suing pharmaceutical firms. "We are willing to encourage a debate on this issue and welcome further comments," the group says.
Ross adds: "Our pro-active approach means the public will be alerted to dangers a lot earlier, thereby increasing the pressure on those responsible to halt the dangers."