More bad news for clients and solicitors who fail to take out an ATE policy.
From the 22nd April, court fees for Personal Injury claims are set to rise by a massive 81% (so slightly above inflation) to £445 for a standard claim. Interlocutory applications fees are also set to rise.
Why? Well the official line is to make the Civil Courts a much better place but the real reason is to put off those pesky claimants. Bringing in the Jackson reforms doesn't seem to have put many people off so the Government is trying a different approach - and of course they don't need a majority vote in Parliament to do this. Stand by for further hikes in future.
So, what should claimants do? Well they would now be totally mad not to insure their claim. Why would they risk having to pay the fees (and all other disbursements) if they lose for the sake of just £106 payable only if they win? If your client says they don't want the ATE policy then I think you should seriously examine their credibility.
I am not alone here. A recent O'Connors LLP survey of 500 firms found that 90% believed ATE insurance was still required for personal injury clients - a percentage which can only get higher with this latest news. The survey also concluded that a very large percentage of firms were simply refusing to give the client a choice - either the client agreed to an After the Event insurance policy or they would decline to act.
We are still coming across the odd firm where they are taking the hit for disbursements themselves but they are few and far between. I don't think they have worked out how much this will cost them - and if they have they need to re-calculate as costs are about to rise. I simply do not believe that a firm can operate without the security of ATE insurance.
Now some good news. Despite the hike in court fees, we have received confirmation from our underwriter that they won't be increasing prices for anyone joining in the next 6 months - so hurry up and get in touch.
Our motor policies are just £100, non-motor £345 and industrial disease £450 (all plus IPT).
You'd be mad not to.