The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in November, 2012

ATE premiums – Single or staged?

By on Nov 26, 2012 | 1 comment

At this year’s White Paper Legal Costs Conference, Keith Hayward, from Victory Legal Costs Solicitors, gave a very interesting talk on ATE premiums in low value RTA claims. This talk was accompanied by excellent accompanying notes. I cheekily asked Keith whether he would mind me reproducing the notes and not only was he kind enough to agree but he has gone one further and updated the notes to include a commentary on the Liverpool Test Cases. This is essential reading for those involved in challenges to ATE premiums. These have now been added to the Costs Law Articles Archive: ATE premiums – single or staged Recovering ATE premiums – case...

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Fixed fees across the fast-track

By on Nov 20, 2012 | 40 comments

The Government has announced its proposals for the new fee structure for the extended RTA portal, which will now cover RTA claims up to £25,000 and also EL and PL claims. As anticipated/feared this will be dramatically lower than current levels with the fee for RTA cases worth up to £10,000 falling from £1,200 to £500. For RTA claims worth between £10,000 and £25,000 the fee will be £800. In respect of EL and PL claims, the proposed figures are £900 for cases up to £10,000 and £1,600 for cases up to £1,600. If that were not dramatic enough fee, arguably, the even more significant announcement is a set of fixed fees for claims that exit the portal. The absence of fixed fees in this area has always been the glaring omission in the plans to control costs. Lord Justice Jackson’s proposals and are now going to be implemented virtually in full. Fixed fees across the fast-track come April...

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APIL expose sordid bedroom habits

By on Nov 15, 2012 | 4 comments

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) report into whiplash injuries, subtitled “Myth or Fact?”, reports that 70% of those surveyed who provided a definite answer would not know how much to claim for their whiplash injury. Presumably the other 30% were of the view that they would know the true value. I can only assume that Kemp & Kemp is more popular bedtime reading amongst the British public than Fifty Shades of Grey. To be fair, this kind of survey is only meant to be a bit of fun and obviously not taken too...

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Hurley v Makuni

By on Nov 13, 2012 | 37 comments

An issue that has long being bubbling under the surface is the extent to which the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008 apply to solicitors’ conditional fee agreements and whether a failure to contain notice of the claimant’s rights to cancel a CFA renders the agreement unenforceable. Despite lengthy commentary been devoted to this issue at various stages there appears to have been very little in the way of judicial decision on the issue. However, this appears to have now shot back up the agenda in light of a recent decision by Regional Costs Judge Moss in Hurley v Makuni (Manchester County Court, unreported) (click link for judgment). It was ruled that a failure to include such a notice rendered the agreement unenforceable notwithstanding the fact that the CFA was a “CFA Lite”. Expect this issue to run to the Court of Appeal.  Thanks to Paul Wainwright at Berrymans Lace Mawer for providing details on this...

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Whiplash – Myth or Fact?

By on Nov 12, 2012 | 3 comments

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has recently published a report into whiplash injuries, subtitled “Myth or Fact?”, including details of an independent survey of 4,000 people. APIL advise “Some may find the answers surprising”. The results of the survey show “33 per cent of people reported their symptoms accurately; 47 per cent of people said they made their symptoms seem better than they were, to the person making the diagnosis”. Although APIL’s report does not spell this out, presumably the balance of 20 per cent either exaggerated their symptoms or claimed to have suffered an injury when they had not. This survey was apparently conducted via an “online omnibus panel”. I assume this is some kind of an online questionnaire. What is surprising is not the fact that 20% of those surveyed appear to have deliberately exaggerated their symptoms but that 20% were prepared to admit to having done so. It hardly takes a leap of imagination to suppose that the true portion is much higher. The survey discovered that “90 per cent of people think claiming for an injury when you haven’t been injured is fraudulent”. What planet does the other 10% live on? And “89 per cent of people think deliberately crashing your car in order to be able to make a claim for personal injury is fraudulent”. It’s not so much the issue of whether 11% appear to believe that it is not problematic to deliberately crash their car to make a personal injury claim, but the fact they don’t even recognise this as being fraudulent. One of APIL’s proposed solutions to stamping out fraud in this area is that “Claimants to be subject to a standard, written statement of truth which must be explained to them by their solicitors”. That should do the trick then. Another interesting statistic provided by the survey is that “almost 90 per cent of sufferers are diagnosed by a medical professional”. If 67% of respondents were giving inaccurate information to the medical professional (47% underreporting and 20% overreporting) how accurate were these diagnoses? I have yet to see a medical report in a whiplash claim where the medical “expert” identified the fact that the claimant’s symptoms were worse...

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