Five hundred firms slapped with miners’ bill

The Law Society’s new regulation and consumer complaints board has written to over 500 firms involved in miners’ compensation cases to persuade them to repay charges paid by clients.

In a letter sent to the firms last week (22 February) regulation board chair Peter Williamson and complaints board chair Shamit Saggar urged firms to repay “unnecessary” costs charged to clients.

Firms that acted for miners claiming compensation for injury and disease were compensated under a fixed costs scheme by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). But some also charged the miners additional fees, which were later proved to be superfluous because costs were covered by the government scheme.

The letter says: “It is plain that the continued controversy concerning solicitors’ charges in these cases has a significant impact on the reputation of the profession, and thus on public confidence in it and in the legal system.”

Most of the firms involved are personal injury specialists, ranging from sole practitioners to larger firms.