The Law Society of Scotland has launched a new insurance scheme to cover no win, no fee compensation cases.
The scheme is based on Accident Line Protect, which was launched by the Law Society of England and Wales in August 1995, but is a little more expensive.
For a premium of £115, the Scottish scheme, Compensure, offers up to £100,000 cover to meet opponents' and other costs, such as expert witness fees, in unsuccessful cases.
It covers accidents, injuries and diseases and will be jointly administered by insurance brokers Johnson & Higgins, who also underwrite the English scheme, and Abbey Legal Protection. It does not cover medical negligence cases or cases which are already in court.
Like its counterpart south of the border, only experienced personal injury solicitors, who are members of a Compensure panel, will be allowed to take part in the scheme.
Any solicitor in Scotland will be allowed to refer a client seeking a no win, no fee accident claim to a panel member, who will then consider taking on the case.
Graeme Garrett, convenor of the society's working party, which developed the scheme, said: “Compensure will offer accident victims a very good deal as it removes the fear of cost which has understandably prevented many of them lodging claims in the past.
“In this way, the insurance scheme will improve access to justice for a great many people who do not qualify for legal aid and therefore feel they cannot pursue a claim.”
Bruce Ritchie, secretary to the working party, said the scheme had been well received by firms and there were already 33 solicitors on the panel.
The launch of Compensure coincides with the introduction in Scotland of LawAssist, which is an after-the-event insurance scheme run by Greystoke Legal Services.
Ritchie said he thought the schemes were complementary. LawAssist had higher premiums, but covered more types of case and paid both sides' costs.