Society finds 'nothing wrong' with names-for-cash scheme

NO ACTION is to be taken over the names-for-cash marketing controversy which prompted widespread ambulance chasing claims in the summer.

But the Law Society has decided to tighten up conveyancing advertising rules to clamp down on unrealistically low quotes. The move comes amid calls for urgent action to put a stop to fee undercutting from vice-president Robert Sayer.

He told the Law Society council meeting last Thursday that up to 25 per cent of small firms faced closure within three to four years and revealed a plan to exclude firms from the indemnity scheme if they undercut a recommended fee.

He said he would be putting the idea to the presidential working party on conveyancing, which will be meeting for the first time this week.

The decision on marketing means firms can continue to buy lists of names of accident victims interested in taking legal action from the Gateshead firm Legal Marketing Direct.

Law Society president Martin Mears ordered an investigation into the scheme when it was revealed in August, sparking off a media furore.

But standards and guidance committee chair Paul Venton said that his committee had mounted a thorough investigation and saw nothing wrong with the scheme based on questionnaires filled out by members of the public who actively stated they wanted advice.

“My committee did not find it difficult to see that it is not at all like ambulance chasing.”

Apil president Michael Napier has expressed disappointment at the decision, although he said he respected the views of the council.