By Matthew Best, Senior Underwriting Manager
(Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 3 seconds)
With the GB pound sinking to an all-time low against the US dollar during the government original budget proposals – what else could our leaders do to make things worse? Well, for the legal sector, guess what…
Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly the hot topics from our last newsletter remain. It’s not a pretty picture for claimants as the principles of (access to) justice are being removed, slowly but surely.
There is still no word from the Government as to if, why and how fixed recoverable costs (FRC) are going to happen. The October deadline for implementation has been scrapped. We are now looking, at the very earliest, April 2023 for its introduction.
In a recent survey we conducted amongst claimant and defendant representatives, over 40% of you said that FRC can work. Interestingly, 25% of those are from a claimant background. When asked for the reasons for their answer, it simply came down to cost. If the figures are set reasonably, there is no reason it cannot work.
When asked whether the participant’s law firm would still run FRC cases, around 50% said no, with 35% of those already stopping marketing those cases. That percentage, although foreseeable, really does show that the door to justice is being forced shut. Where will clients with legitimate cases go to get answers?
One article published recently suggested that law firms might be forced to deduct 50% from damages to survive the fixed costs extension. Whether that was aimed at personal injury matters or clinical negligence matters is, to me, irrelevant. The reasoning must be the same. Someone has to cover the solicitors’ shortfall in respect of unrecovered profit costs and the irrecoverable success fee – don’t they?
Deducting even more from claimant damages will be even more of a minefield than it is currently. It could lead to further disputes and arguments of the kind that have repeatedly appeared in the courts during recent months. Clients can also try to claim back deductions – on the basis they did not consent to such a large amount being taken by their advisers (Belsner). All we can do is sit tight and wait for whatever ‘shady’ system is implemented. But please remember that, here at Temple, we remain fully committed to keeping costs down.
To share your thoughts on this topic do please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01483 577877. You may also want to read the previous article on “Fixed costs – a fix that doesn’t fix what needs fixing”
Matthew Best Cert CII
Matt has an insurance background and joined Temple in 2011 having worked for 4 years in a leading insurance company where he was dealing with personal injury work. Matthew was promoted to Underwriting Manager and subsequently Senior Underwriting Manager taking on overall responsibility for Temple’s personal injury and clinical negligence underwriting department.
In 2022 Matt joined the board of directors as Director of ATE Partnerships. Matthew has cultivated fantastic relationships with our business partners for many years. His ability to build a clear understanding of their requirements and more importantly what is required to fulfil such requirements means he is ideally placed to support the strategic direction of the company.
Matt remains the head of the personal injury and clinical negligence department and is committed to all Temple’s business partners in order to deliver the highest level of service they expect. He is also responsible in making sure that Temple’s ATE and disbursement funding products remain competitive, but most importantly that they are fit for purpose for solicitors and their clients.
Read articles by Matthew Best Cert CII