Manchester, UK (PRWEB UK) 27 March 2014
The warning came at the industry’s annual conference in Manchester as Sucheet Amin, managing partner of Personal Injury Solicitors Manchester, Aequitas Legal, told delegates “in the same way that we fight for fair compensation for injured people, we must continue to fight for our clients' ongoing right to access an independent and properly regulated legal profession.”
Sucheet – who runs one of the country’s top specialist personal injury law firm s – defended a sector that is suffering a series of body blows from regulators.
Top of his hit-list was the ‘reform’ of referral fees. The debate on whether the ban was appropriate, he argued, was over and he couldn’t see it being lifted. But without stricter enforcement the marketplace is unlikely to adjust.
And delegates at the 2014 Claims Magazine Conference at Lancashire County Cricket Club, heard how a major impact of the ban was being sidestepped as some firms continue to make prohibited payments.
“This is really a matter for the Solicitors Regulation Authority but I'm informed that the Law Society is also monitoring the situation closely,” said Sucheet – although, he added, practical enforcement is difficult when multi-million pound profits from non-compliance are countered by the threat of a maximum £2,000 fine.
The ban can only be effective if the theoretically level playing field is properly policed and positive action taken over breaches. Otherwise, Sucheet warned, referral fees would simply be driven underground with less ethical lawyers finding clever ‘workarounds’.
The ban has been the beginning of the end for many law firms who are pushed into administration and a rising number of mergers. Innovation becomes difficult, expensive and risky as they try to adapt, compete and stay profitable. Meanwhile the Law Society is not giving enough support to help them attract vital new business, said Sucheet.
So the odds quickly stack against the ‘little guys’ and if they can’t get business in, then they don’t have a business. The Law Society should place more emphasis on marketing training along with consistent and regular campaigning on behalf of the profession – “and I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.”
As a result, firms that genuinely want to innovate, and have the appetite to grow, struggle for guidance on what is acceptable practice within the regulatory framework that governs the industry.
And even more law firms could go out of business if the government increases the personal injury claims limit to £5,000 – as well as forcing injured victims to seek redress from insurer-backed alternatives or direct from compensating insurers.
Sucheet also fears that increasing the claims limit could have an opposite effect with ‘savvy fraudsters’ spearheading a rise in exaggerated claims with pre-medical offers.
With the referral ban in place, and little clear guidance on what is acceptable, it will be the most innovative firms, or those with a healthy attitude to risk, who are left to define what can and can’t be done in this ‘brave new legal world’.
And that, said Sucheet, could increase the casualty list even more.
More about Aequitas Legal
Established in 2009 and based in the UK cities of Manchester and Salford, Aequitas Legal has quickly become a highly respected personal injury claims firm, focused firmly on providing a first rate customer service.
Aequitas Legal specialise in personal injury cases for those unlucky enough to have been involved in road traffic accidents, cycling accidents, accident at work or in the public.
Through an ethos of providing friendly, reliable and accessible advice, Aequitas Legal provide complimentary consultations to people who have been injured in a non-fault accident. Clients can quickly establish if they are entitled to make a claim and can proceed on a “No Win, No Fee” service arrangement.
Aequitas Legal's commitment to their clients has seen them win numerous awards over the past 18 months. One particular highlight was receiving the Excellence In Client Services Award at the prestigious Law Society Excellence Awards,
Managing Partner, Sucheet Amin was elected as President of the Manchester Law Society in 2012. Aequitas Legal are also proud supporters of the charity Brake and raised over £2,300 during 2012.
Aequitas Legal is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England & Wales
Imperial Court, Building 2,
Exchange Quay, Manchester,
UK. M5 3EB.
Tel: 0161 358 0800 | Fax: 0161 358 0805
Web: http://www.aequitaslegal.co.uk | Email: office(at)aequitaslegal(dot)co(dot)uk.