And so it came to pass. David did meet with the great unwashed (insurers) and a deal was done which the learned Judges hath said 'there's nothing wrong with that': Costs for a basic RTA will now be fixed at just £500 post April.
So what now? There are letters in the Gazette saying 'we are turning out the lights', 'we are all doomed, doomed I tell you' etc etc.
But is this really true? Let's wind back to 1998, before the Access to Justice Act. What used to happen then?
Well, solicitors used to charge their clients an hourly rate and claim costs back from the defendant if they won. If they lost, the client sometimes still had to pay - as was also the case if there was a shortfall in recovery of costs. What is more, there were After the Event Insurance policies taken out - which the client paid for.
Did the world end back then? Were solicitors firms closing and laying off hundreds of workers? Er, no.
What used to happen was that clients paid for a solicitor to run their case for them. What is wrong with that? We have all got into the mindset over the last 10 years that the client's damages are sacrosanct. Why is that? Why should they not pay something in order to be compensated? Why shouldn't clients agree to a deduction of say, £500 from their damages if the solicitor wins their case for them?
I know some solicitors will say that this would mean that clients would not be fully compensated for their injuries. Now I can understand that where future care is concerned or if we are talking about a serious head injury claim but whiplash? Come on. Clients won't care. Prior to 1999 they were happy to hand over a size-able percentage of their damages to a solicitor who won their cae for them and they will get used to it again. They will have to. It is either that or solicitor firms up and down the country will have to close and then who will act for the injured clients?
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