A set of chambers has teamed up with a claims investigation company to provide a private criminal prosecution service for insurers who believe they are victims of fraud.
John Binks, director of Birmingham-based Citadel Chambers, said: “What is attractive is the costs situation. The criminal process can be a lot less complex, quicker and ultimately cheaper.”
Ray Glenn, managing director of investigators RGI Solutions, described the partnership as “the first of its kind”, providing a “seamless” service leading to the swift prosecution of offenders.
Mr Binks said insurers had two civil options to tackle fraudulent claims.
“They can try and fight off claims using normal civil procedures. If the person sues, they defend it and quite often they defend it successfully.
“They may see the fact they’ve defended the claim as enough, but there is no deterrent effect or anything to stop the fraudster trying again.”
Mr Binks said the alternative civil option was to plead fraud as part of litigation and commit someone to prison for contempt of court. “That can be a long and arduous process, and is quite expensive.”
Mr Binks said there were also two criminal options. The first was calling the police, often involving the insurance fraud enforcement department, based at the City of London Police and funded by the industry.
The second option was a private criminal prosecution for fraud. RGI could investigate the case, with advocacy provided by Citadel and litigation by Coleridge Law Limited, the law firm owned by the chambers.
Mr Binks said the costs of the prosecution were paid from central funds whether the insurance company won or lost.
Andrew Fisher QC, head of Citadel Chambers, said the new service turned the conduct of litigation “on its head”, with the barrister leading an “end-to-end process to ensure the right cases get to court” and achieving conviction in a cost-effective manner.
Mr Glenn added that the new service would give the power back to insurers to pursue criminals and send a “powerful deterrent message” to fraudsters.