The scope of the revolutionary “no-win no-fee” approach to justice is set to expand with the launch of vital insurance cover.
The Law Society's own insurance scheme will be restricted to limited cases and certain lawyers when the new rules come into force in the spring.
But a new product, thought to be the first of its kind, has come on to the market and is set to open up the field.
The conditional fee protection plan, offered by City-based Litigation Protection, will enable clients to insure themselves against having to pay the other side's costs should they lose.
The scheme will cover all personal injury (PI) cases as well as insolvency, and human rights actions brought in the European courts.
Insurance offered by the society will cover PI, but not medical negligence and will only be available to specialist Accident Line members.
Brian Raincock, managing director of Litigation Protection, says: “This one is going to be available to all. It will really open up the whole field.”
Clients can insure themselves against costs of up to u100,000 and the cover can include disbursements, barristers' and expert witness fees. Litigants can also insure themselves against having their damages wiped out by their own costs which are not usually fully refunded.
Andrew Lockley, the society's director of legal practice, welcomes the scheme.
“We are keen to develop legal expenses generally,” he says.