Judicial Review Challenges Government Decision

Published: 15th February 2013

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) has issued a judicial review of the Secretary of State for Justice’s decision to reduce the amount of fees payable for cases conducted through the road traffic accident (RTA) personal injury scheme.

Under the Government proposal, recoverable costs will be cut by significant amounts making the running of these cases through the personal injury scheme unaffordable.

Kevin Liddy, specialist personal injury solicitor at Liddy’s Solicitors in Wakefield and Barnsley, commented: “This decision will put victims in a difficult position as they will find it difficult to obtain independent legal advice, and will end up having to negotiate with insurers for compensation themselves.

“This is a specialist area which, as solicitors, we are trained to deal with, and have extensive experience in. An individual would struggle to represent themselves or fully understand what their injuries are actually ‘worth’ in terms of damages. As a result they would be unlikely to achieve the best outcome for themselves.”

One of the major concerns that APIL and MASS have is that ‘the decision was made at an insurance summit held by the Prime Minister where the Government consulted insurers, but not those representing the interests of victims and claimants.’

They also ‘challenge the fact that the Government appears to have accepted the insurance industry’s analysis that, if referral fees are banned, solicitors will make an unacceptable level of profit from cases run through the scheme.’

In conclusion APIL added that the ‘fees in the current scheme were not calculated on the basis of referral fees. So, by consulting only with insurers, the Government’s proposal to make these cuts is both unfair, and based on a misinterpretation of the facts’.