Rush to get Accident Line insurance

FIRMS have been flocking to join up to the Law Society's £85 no win no fee insurance scheme, according to Chancery Lane officials.

Nine hundred of the 1,300 Accident Line offices had signed up for insurance by the time the Law Society's Accident Line Protect scheme was launched last week.

David Hartley, of the Law Society's legal practice directorate, said the response was good considering the launch took place in the middle of the summer holidays.

Firms contacted by The Lawyer appeared to be at varying stages of readiness to launch no win no fee agreements with a significant number of heads of department away on holiday.

But Manchester firm Betesh Fox & Co claims to have hit the ground running, signing up no win no fee clients by the day while reporting the transfer of a number of contribution-paying legal aid clients to conditional fee agreements.

The firm, which has 16 fee earners in its PI department, also reports a surprising level of enthusiasm among Manchester chambers and is confident it can reach a compromise over terms of engagement despite the disagreement between the Law Society and the Bar Council over model terms.

Louise Christian, of London firm Christian Fisher & Co, is more cautious about the new regime and has so far signed up just one client and is not charging an uplift.

She is very concerned that lawyers will charge unjustifiably large uplifts for “sure fire” cases.

“I can't see us ever charging anything like a 100 per cent uplift, I think that is completely wrong,” she said.