The decision by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) not to follow the Claims Management Regulator Unit (CMRU) and ban inducements has come under heavy criticism from the personal injury industry.
Both the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) have voiced their concerns over the decision and the affect it may have on the number of exaggerated or fraudulent claims that are made as well as the claimant’s choice when it comes to choosing legal representation.
MASS Chairman, Craig Budsworth (pictured) said: “It should be increasingly obvious that offering cash upfront or a free gift like an iPad to attract claimants will not help in the battle against fraud.
“If we are going to clean they system of fraud and reduce motor insurance premiums, this practice must end. Combating the ‘have-a-go’ culture must be a top priority and banning enticements to claim will help reassure consumers that claims are not to be encourages.”
He went on to describe the CMRU decision to introduce a ban on inducements was a positive step and that it should be extended across the industry, as a whole, to ensure everyone is held to the same high standards.
A spokeswoman for APIL explained the impact on the claimants choice saying: “An injured person should not be distracted from choosing the best solicitor by a cash inducement or gift from another who may not be best qualified to deal with this case. We’re extremely disappointed that the Solicitors Regulation Authority did not feel it necessary to take a firm hand on inducements.
“The fact that a higher standard is already imposed on claims management companies but not solicitors is simply unacceptable.”
Last week the SRA justified their decision not to ban inducements on solicitors, explaining that there was no evidence of an adverse effect on clients.
1. Motor Accident Solicitors Society; http://www.mass.org.uk/solicitors/our-management-committee/