Justice Secretary targets no-win-no-fee accident claims

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has recently stated his intention that Welsh and English lawyers may soon be barred from raising their fees if successfully litigating a no win no fee accident claim.

As no win no fee lawyers can currently double any fees in the event that they win a case, Secretary Clarke’s intentions, if they bear fruit, could completely change the accident claim landscape.

In order to rectify matters however the minister, whilst speaking on Law In Action on BBC Radio 4, explained how the Coalition government is currently considering adopting a system that shares similarities with the US in which a percentage of legal fees from any personal injury claim can be recovered from any damages that may be awarded to the case’s plaintiff.

Earlier in 2010, Lord Justice Jackson made news when he published his widely-read review of the UK’s current fee system.  Mr Clarke stated that the recommendations contained within the review were found to have a high level of attractiveness to the government.

The UK insurance industry has been heavily impacted by a rise in lawyers who employ so-called “ambulance chaser” tactics.

In fact due in part to a large rise in personal injury claims made by third parties and a claims management industry that has become much more aggressive as of late, the UK personal motor car insurance market is unlikely to turn a profit for several years.  Towers Watson conducted research recently on the issue, which led to the conclusion that it may be 2015 before the motor insurance market is back in the black.

Industry experts agree that the irony of the government’s possible adoption of American-style fee guidelines is palpable, given that many of the no win no fee lawyers in the UK are considered to employ litigation tactics made popular by their American counterparts.

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