BUSINESS UPDATE - Q4

Government plan to introduce Employment Tribunal fees reveals lack of joined up thinking on access to justice

Arc Legal is calling on the government to rethink its proposals to charge individuals fees of up to £2000 or more to bring employment tribunal cases. Arc Legal believes plans announced by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in December designed to reduce the number of tribunal hearings will in fact increase claims costs for legal expenses insurers putting it at odds with the government’s support for legal expenses provision to improve access to justice.

The MoJ has heralded its proposals to charge a fee to individuals to use the tribunal service as a way of reducing the cost burden on taxpayers and to relieve the pressure on businesses facing unnecessary claims. However, as the majority of these cases are being funded by before the event legal expenses or trade unions, Arc Legal says such a move will be ineffective.

 

Risk of Conflict of Interest inherent in Legal Expenses Insurers drive for Alternative Business Structures

Richard Finan, Director of Arc Legal has expressed his concerns over legal expenses firms developing Alternative Business Structures under the Legal Services Act. There is a risk that a conflict of interest between the needs of the underwriters and the needs of the consumer could occur if a legal expenses firm decides to develop their own in house law firm.

Richard argues that underwriting exposure rather than the client's interest could be the key consideration made on claims, and that any legal expenses insurer operating with this model needs to demonstrate a level of independence in the decision making process to ensure that consumers are protected.

 

Educating consumers on Before the Event (BTE) benefits will help address gap in access to justice

Richard Finan has been commenting on educating consumers on the benefits of BTE cover will help address the possible demise of the After the Event (ATE) market as a result of government plans to reform the legal services sector.

The full article can be found at www.postonline.co.uk.

 

Market runs risk of undermining low cost Legal Expenses with kneejerk reaction to Webster Dixon ruling

Arc Legal has cautioned the legal expenses market on making premature comments about the impact of the High Court ruling in the Webster Dixon v Equity Syndicate case on the UK’s thriving low cost before the event legal (BTE) expenses sector.

Helen Withers said the ruling represented a technical decision on how non-panel solicitors’ should be assessed not a decision on the level of costs. An appeal has already been lodged so the outcome is not certain.

Helen stressed the importance of the BTE model in light of recent plans to reduce the legal aid provision and reiterated that Arc Legal remains committed to the add-on before-the-event model.

 

The Scottish Landlord Legal Expenses market

Landlords Legal Expenses can be an essential part of any landlords insurance package, however it is important for landlords to understand local legislation that might apply to where their property is located.

Richard Finan has been discussing differences relating to eviction proceedings against a tenant for Scottish landlords compared to those in England and Wales.

The full article can be found at www.scotsman.com.

Call us on 0344 770 9000