The business which helps clients sue their former law firms for excessive charging in personal injury (PI) cases has now recovered more than £100,000 and is expecting major growth in the coming year.
Checkmylegalfees.com, based in Sheffield, London and Swansea, said it has acted successfully for 140 personal injury clients since it opened in July 2017, with an average refund of £730 per client.
It has also acted in non-injury cases, including divorce, employment tribunals, litigation, probate, crime, judicial review, Inheritance Act claims, charging orders and even a petition to the Election Court.
Director Mark Carlisle said the number of PI cases completed was relatively small because various appeals – in particular Herbert v HH in the Court of Appeal – had created a “log jam”.
The court ruled in Herbert that solicitors handling low-value personal injury claims since LASPO should have undertaken risk assessments before setting success fees – rather than just applying 100% across the board, as many have done since 2013.
Mr Carlisle said the decision meant it was “very likely that a large proportion” of the hundreds of thousands of people making road traffic accident claims each year have been overcharged.
“They are unaware of the fact that they might be entitled to claim because the legal profession has been rather shy about letting people know that it got things so wrong.”
Checkmylegalfees has another 120 active cases, with more than 50 “waiting to get started”.
Mr Carlisle said: “We are taking on clients at a rate of around 10 per week at the moment, based on just the beginning of an extensive social media campaign, and would anticipate that rising sharply as the campaign evolves, along with future advertising initiatives.
“We are aiming to be dealing with a minimum of 2,500 claims per year by the end of 2020.”
Co-director Kerry-Anne Moore, a costs lawyer, accused law firms of often deducting twice as much as they should from clients’ damages.
She said: “Many of our customers don’t know precisely how they have been stung by their solicitors, they just know that something seems wrong when they receive a much smaller proportion of their damages than they expected.”