State of the Market: First4Lawyers launches its annual survey to identify the big issues and the challenges ahead

By Legal Futures Associate First4Lawyers

Can you spare five minutes to share your views in our annual State of the Market survey?

After a brief hiatus last year, we’re back with our sixth annual survey of lawyers working in the personal injury and clinical negligence sector.

Your thoughts will help us paint a comprehensive picture of the market, identifying the issues it is currently facing as well as the challenges ahead.

All responses are completely confidential.

Since our 2020 survey, we’ve seen major changes including the introduction of the government’s Official Injury Claim (OIC) portal, designed to help RTA victims claim damages without needing a lawyer but blighted by problems since its launch in May.

These long-awaited reforms were delayed so long that 40% of respondents in our last survey didn’t believe they would ever happen, and just 18% had agreed a strategy to deal with them if they did.

We know that many firms have since stopped taking on this type of work, some diversifying into other areas.

What impact has it had on you? Are volume players driving out the smaller, specialist firms?

Will the government keep squeezing fees? It certainly seems that way with the recent launch of a consultation which would see fixed recoverable costs (FRC) imposed in clinical negligence cases up to £25,000 and plans to extend FRC to cases worth up to £100,000 also on the horizon.

Our view

Data from the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) shows the personal injury market had shrunk by 39% in 2021 compared to 2019.

In 2020 employer liability claims were down 45% on the previous year and they fell a further 7% in 2021 compared to 2020. Whilst there has been some growth in the number of EL claims available since the second quarter of 2021, there remains 49% fewer EL claims in the market than back in 2019 and 2018.

Road traffic accident claims fell by more than a fifth (22%) in 2021, which is hardly surprising given there were fewer people going to work, fewer vehicles on the roads – and a government portal which has proved itself not fit for purpose. We’re approaching the first anniversary of its launch and yet less than 10% of claimants are using it in the way it was intended, without the need for a lawyer.

Despite this, the government seems intent on pressing ahead with more ill thought through reforms which threaten to further restrict access to justice for innocent victims.

In our latest panel newsletter Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director of the Association of Consumer Support Organisations, writes: “It is incumbent on us to work together and be pragmatic where necessary to ensure that we have a properly functioning and fair civil justice system that works for everyone.

“If we want policy makers to listen, we must be constructive, coherent and speak as one.”

That’s why it’s so important for us to hear as many views as possible from lawyers working in our sector during one of the most challenging periods in its history.

How has your firm been affected and what does the rest of 2022 look like for you?

Tell us what you think

Our survey takes just five minutes to complete and is completely confidential.

Results will be released in May and shared on our website, email communications and social media channels.

Many thanks in advance for taking part.


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