Spring 2015 – News Headlines

CPR Amendment for Infant Awards

Following an APIL-led initiative, solicitors will now be able to recover the success fee and after-the-event insurance premium from infant awards after the Civil Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC) approved amended rules.

During 2014, anecdotal evidence emerged from solicitors indicating that District Judges had an inconsistent approach as to whether to refuse to allow deductions for additional liabilities from infant awards. This led to the concern that, should this become the default position, it would become uneconomic to run infant claims, thereby depriving children of the ability to bring claims, or fuel a surge in unrepresented infant claimants.

This change means that deductions will be allowed after the Litigation Friend has filed a witness statement with the Court which sets out the nature, amount of the cost/expense and the reason they were incurred.

Story via PI Focus, March 2015

Parklane Plowden Chambers Restructures

Parklane Plowden Chambers has announced a radical restructure which includes the creation of an Executive Management Board to oversee and drive delivery on all aspects of the growth strategy. The other key element includes the setting-up of a separate service company charged with managing the internal systems associated with running a chambers.

The Board and Service Company includes a number of external non-executive members who are well-recognised within the legal arena. They include Geoff Harrison – who played a key role in the integration of Eversheds in 2000, Natalie Rodgers – a Marketing Consultant and former DLA Piper lawyer and Jenny Hatfield as Financial Director.

Making the announcement, Head of Chambers, Andrew Axon said “We have a clear strategy for growth in terms of the work we do, the relationships we have and the size of chambers. Our new structure will allow us to focus on quality in everything we do, from the service we provide to our clients, to the efficiency of our internal chambers operations.” Via media release

Impact of the Jackson Reforms:“The Carnage is Yet to Happen”

According to a Round Table discussion held in March by Legal Futures at Exchange Chambers in Manchester, the full impact of the Jackson Reforms on the personal injury market is yet to be felt by the profession and that time is running out for firms to future proof their firm’s personal injury department.

Those involved in the discussion included lawyers from Russell & Russell, JMW, Michael W Halsall, SGI Legal and Pryers Solicitors. The general feeling was that the impact of the reforms on the personal injury market has been slower than anticipated, but that 2016 could see the long-anticipated shake-up of the market.

Ian Pryer, Managing Partner at Pryers Solicitors, suggested that fee-earners in some firms may be clinging onto their cases for fear of what could happen after. He said, “The carnage is yet to happen. A lot of people had thought that the WIP would have disappeared more quickly.”

He went on to warn that two years on from Jackson, firms will start “falling off, unless their business models have moved on.”

There was considerable debate about the mix of a PI practice between RTA cases and other types of PI. Simon Shaw, partner at Liverpool firm SGI Legal, said it was a matter of balancing cash against profit. “RTAs will generate cash quicker, whereas your non-RTA work will generate a more significant profit. But you need cash to reinvest.” Story via Legal Futures, 10 March 2015

And Finally…The Silverlining Award for Outstanding Achievement

Nestor has been formally recognised by the brain injury charity, The Silverlining, for its support of the charity. Managing Director, Nick Leech, accepted the ‘outstanding achievement award’ on behalf of the firm, which has supported the charity since it was founded, including raising significant funds from sponsorship for completing the Brecon Beacons Challenge. The Silverlining supports clients, including those with a brain injury, to participate in and organise charity challenges – physical, creative or educational which helps to not only raise funds and awareness, but encourages bonds and understanding between participants.

To learn more about their work, visit www.thesilverlining.org.uk.