Justice secretary Chris Grayling has promised criminal law barristers that the government will “take measures” to strengthen the Legal Aid Agency’s ban on solicitors demanding referral fees.
Smaller claims management companies (CMCs) have been hit hardest by market changes such as the ban on referral fees, it has emerged.
The Claims Management Regulator has warned over 65 claims management companies about their compliance with the referral fee ban in the first three months of this year, it has emerged.
The practice of law firms paying a claims management company or insurer to have a case referred to them was ugly, drove unethical behaviours and placed commerciality above the rights and needs of injured people. It was rightly banned in April 2013.
Admiral Group is the overwhelmingly dominant partner in the joint venture alternative business structures (ABSs) it has set up with law firms Lyons Davidson and Cordner Lewis, the insurer’s annual results have shown.
Marketing collective First4Lawyers – which last autumn launched a £10m personal injury advertising campaign – is to open up its panel for the first time as it looks to increase its market share.
An increasing tendency among solicitors to pay referral fees to each other and to use solicitor-advocates is diverting work away from junior barristers, ultimately threatening the quality of the judiciary, according to the Bar Council.
The Legal Services Board has backed improvements to the transparency of referral fees paid by licensed conveyancers following a review that found absolutely no justification for a ban.
Direct Line Group – which last month announced plans to launch its own legal business – made a final £6.1m in referral fees from solicitors this year before the ban was introduced on 1 April, its half-year results have shown.
MPs have attacked insurance companies for not being more transparent over the referral fees they receive from a range of sources. The transport select committee said “the motor insurance sector remains as opaque as ever”.