Afua Hirsch… editor of Guardian Law… is speechless! Hat Tip @loveandgarbage
Libel reform closer after Campbell ruling
Greenslade blog Guardian: The European Court of Human Rights has dealt a mighty blow to no-win, no-fee arrangements (CFAs) with the ruling on the Naomi Campbell case in favour of Mirror Group Newspapers. It is sure to bolster those bodies pushing for libel law reform, but as I argue in my London Evening Standard column today, conditional fee arrangements should not be eliminated altogether. It is the way they operate that requires attention.”
The UK HUman Rights blog considers this issue in detail: Analysis: Costs Regime in Peril after Strasbourg Naomi Campbell Ruling and “Blackmail” costs system violated Daily Mirror’s freedom of expression rights in Naomi Campbell case
And finally… Richard Craig writes in to the blog:
What a pity that the Telegraph chose to report the findings of a recent meeting of Transport Select Committee in such a one-sided manner, not even pausing to perhaps let anyone who isn’t a spokesperson for the insurance industry get a word in edgeways.
Advertising: the insurance companies are aggrieved by the ‘aggressive television marketing campaigns’ run by claims specialists. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of the last time I saw a PI company advert on television, whereas you can’t move for meerkats, Iggy Pop or that blasted opera singer (thank the Lord his most recent advert takes the form of a silent movie). A well-placed source whispers in my ear that the insurance industry spent £285m on advertising last year. Bit of a case of the insurers’ pot calling the lawyers’ kettle black. Lord Young, who was appointed by the government to see what all the ‘compensation culture’ fuss was about last year, upon publishing his findings then admitted he had no problem with the nature of PI advertising at all.
Costs: Insurers complain that costs incurred contesting car crash claims and other PI cases have driven up consumers’ premiums by about 30% in the last year. But somebody’s being diddled because legal costs for RTA personal injury cases where the compensation award is below £10,000 have been fixed since October 2003. Such cases make up well over two-thirds of all vehicle-related PI cases. Never mind the adoption of the RTA portal last year, which served to lower costs yet again. These savings are not being passed on to the consumer.
Fraud control: Esure have obviously had their spirit broken by employing Michael Winner all those years ago. They say that, in a certain area of Birmingham, they are now paying out compensation to three times more ‘injury claimants’ than they were a year ago, and yet mysteriously the number of accident damage cases has remained the same. Is it too simple to suggest that maybe some people are being a little teensy bit dishonest? And maybe Esure should improve their fraud detection instead of blaming personal injury companies? It’s not our fault there are criminals out there.
Incentives: The PI industry was then lambasted for offering incentives for claimants to tell their friends and colleagues about their company. It is to be assumed that insurance companies have never offered anything similar in their lives. Insurance companies and PI firms are both businesses that make money from either peoples’ legal obligations or their use of a legal service. For one industry to accuse the other of below-the-belt behaviour when it is arguably more flagrantly extravagant in the same areas is nothing short of ridiculous.