A review of the current costs solicitors can claim in cases where the third party is uninsured or untraceable has been called for by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
The uninsured and untraced drivers’ agreements control the claims process and are currently being discussed by the Ministry of Justice and Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB). The current minimum fixed costs solicitors are entitled to is £500 but the MoJ has proposed in a review, a percentage formula to decide the award. This would see low value cases awarded less and complex high value cases awarded higher costs.
Natural justice requires independent representation.
APIL advised having a separate consultation on the setting of suitable fees for legal expense, saying: “Natural justice requires independent representation at the investigation and the claim preparation stage, not just advice on quantum.”
Costs proportionate to the amount of work done and time spent on the case would be best for both parties.
Most respondents during the consultation agreed that there should be changes to the minimum fixed costs but that there should be bands to decide the awards. The Forum of Insurance Lawyers said they believed the MIB should only have the power to award higher costs in “exceptional circumstances”.
David Bott, Senior Partner at Bott and Co said: “It’s clear there needs to be an independent consultation on how costs are awarded in cases where the MIB is involved. Costs proportionate to the amount of work done and time spent on the case would be best for both parties. If they were to be banded, the brackets would have to be decided by an independent review which took into consideration the claimant, their solicitors and the MIB.”