Duncan Lewis

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for Duncan Lewis

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APIL says the proposed portal fees in RTA cases was a damaging one

Date: (22 November 2012)    |    

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Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has described governments’ intention to cut Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) portal fees from £1,200 to £500, as appalling and a wholly damaging proposal.

Justice Minister Helen Grant has revealed in a letter to the lawyers group and industry body about the government’s proposal.

The proposed fee for the new category of RTA cases worth £10,000 to £25,000 is £800.

Fixed recoverable costs for employer’s and public liability cases worth up to £25,000, which will enter the portal for the first time in April, are being set at £900 and £1,600.

Grant said that they were making the changes so claims were handled quickly and efficiently and accident victims with genuine cases could be compensated as soon as possible.

She added that the proposed changes along with wider reforms would bring in more balance to the system, make lawyers’ costs proportionate and in turn bring in conditions where insurers could pass on savings to their savings to their customers through lower premiums.

However Karl Tonks, president of APIL said they were appalled by these proposals, which were wholly damaging to the interests of injured people.

A fee of £1,600 for an employers’ liability case valued up to £25,000 was not at all reflective of the work involved and serves to cut independent legal advice from the system.

He said it might put the burden on the injured people who will have to pay for legal advice out of the compensation that they would seek for. It was a mystery how the fees were calculated even before the system had become operational and the cases have not been openly put to costs as consultation on new employers’ liability and public liability systems was yet to take off.

Grant said that for claims which left the portal, there would be a “matrix of fixed recoverable costs” based on the table recommended by Lord Justice Jackson in 2009, increased to take account of inflation but reduced to by an amount which would reflect the forthcoming ban on referral fees.

Under the matrix, fees for non-portal claims worth £1,000 to £5,000, which settled before issue, would be the greater of £550 or £100 plus 20 per cent of damages.

For similar claims worth £5,000 to £10,000, it would be £1,100 plus 15 per cent of damages.

Fees for employer’s and public liability cases worth £1,000 to £5,000 which left the portal and settled before issue would be £950 plus 17.5 per cent of damages in both cases.
This would rise to £1,855 plus 12.5 per cent of damages for employer’s liability cases or 10 per cent of damages for public liability.

 

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