The Law Society has hit back at the Government’s proposals to ban legal firms from offering an inducement in exchange for business, by claiming that there is not sufficient evidence to suggest that firms’ doing so encourages fraud.
Chris Grayling announced last week that, as part of the latest raft of whiplash and fraud tacking reform, law firms will no longer be allowed to offer a cash inducement or gifts, such as iPad’s, to attract clients.
This is because the Government believes that it may be responsible for recent figures, released by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), showing that the number of spurious claims was on the increase.
However, the Society’s chief executive Desmond Hudson disagrees. In response to Grayling’s announcement, he said: “There is no evidence to support the suggestions that anyone would launch a spurious legal claim or embark on litigation just because they were being offered a free iPad, just as it is a myth that we live in a compensation culture.”
“The real concern for the public is that the people who suffer injury, whether it is whiplash or something more serious, through no fault of their own, are entitled to compensation for their loss. They should never settle a claim until they have seen an independent solicitor.”
“Solicitors should be able to advertise their services like any other part of a modern economy.”
Despite the Law Society’s protestations though, it has to be said the decision to ban legal firms from offering an inducement in exchange for work has been widely backed by the vast majority of representative bodies in the personal injury industry.
Indeed, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) have both previously offered support for the move to introduce an inducement ban and will welcome the fact that the Government have finally acted.
But what will worry them is the fact that they only did so when the insurers presented them with figures suggesting that fraud had increased and were not prepared to act before when it was supported by the personal injury industry.
This is once again going to increase concerns in the profession over the future of important factors, most notably the small claims limit, for which the insurers are bound to continue their extensive campaign to see it increased from £1,000 to £5,000.
If that happens then access to justice may as well not exist for anyone unfortunate to suffer an injury that falls within the small claims remit.
- Law Society; http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/