The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has claimed that the Jackson Reforms, introduced last April, is forcing claimant firms out of lower-value work, as it is no longer financially viable.
In their response to the Civil Justice Council’s call for evidence on the impact of the reforms, APIL have expressed their concerns around access to justice due to many legal firms withdrawing their services for lower value personal injury claims.
The association also highlighted the damaging effect the Jackson reforms have had on the legal marketing as more and more firms come under pressure to remain within the industry, pointing out that they had created a conflict between a firms ability to stay profitable whilst remaining to offer a quality service to claimants.
APIL‘s response said: “A recent survey of APIL firms showed that many are pulling out of lower-value claims, valued between £1,000 and £10,000 because they are no longer financially viable; 94% indicated they were no longer taking on motor claims valued between £1,000 and £10,000 and 98% indicated they were no longer taking on employer’s liability disease case.”
Another concern underlined in their response was that the cost of professional indemnity insurance.
APIL said: “The consequences of inadvertent procedural default, requires more resources to be allocated to a given matter than are financially viable. This is likely to result in more solicitors withdrawing from the market, possibly as a result of a rise in professional indemnity insurance premiums across the sector, and for some an inability to secure such insurance.”
There was also comment on the seemingly lacking evidence of claimants negotiating the success fee, which Jackson had predicted would drive down the percentage by solicitors.
Obviously with more and more legal firms being driven out of lower value claims work this is likely to have disastrous effects for the genuine claimant who has suffered this type of injury and will almost certainly lead to claimants being under compensated for their injuries.
This of course goes against everything that the Jackson Reforms were allegedly introduced for as, with more and more firms leaving the industry, means that there is less opportunity for the genuinely injury claimant to find legal representation and therefore access to justice.