Most claimant personal injury firms have concluded that they have to charge the full 25% of damages “if they are to survive”, the chief executive of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has said.
Government plans to reform the regime for court fees remissions and introduce a means test are too severe and “will diminish access to justice for a sizeable group of low-income families”, the Civil Justice Council has warned.
The new chairman of the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) has pledged to launch a campaign that will highlight to solicitors the risks to their own income of not using a fully qualified and regulated costs professional.
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The Jackson reforms have brought about widespread unease amongst claimant solicitors, concerned understandably as to the continued viability of their existing business models. These reforms have been imposed upon the legal industry as a consequence of perceived market failure, deemed to be manifested in an absence of price competition as a consequence of the ready availability of conditional fee agreements to act as vehicles for risk-free claims. The status quo (pre April 2013) was considered undesirable as it was believed to lead to unnecessarily high insurance premiums for motorists, householders, local authorities and others by virtue of the recoverability of success fees. This regime was easy meat for the red tops who delighted in informing their readership that ‘spiv lawyers’ were pursuing dodgy claims and raking in doubled fees (whilst happily accepting advertising revenue from claims farmers).