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Industry news roundup

There was some cheer for the legal profession shortly before Christmas, when the Gazette reported that even if high street brands were to begin selling their services, only  one third of consumers would be interested.

However, if Apprentice host Lord Sugar were to get his way, things may be different. On 9 December, Savas Argirou, managing director of Savas and Savage Solicitors, wrote a strongly worded defence of the claimant legal sector to Post Magazine in response to comments made by Lord Sugar in the House of Lords. Mr Argirou listed all of the reasons he could think of why claimant lawyers do not pursue baseless claims (ATE premiums, costs recoverability etc) and said Lord Sugar should leave it to the professionals.

Remaining at the Palace, there was a useful exchange published in written answers from Hansard between Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter MP and Jonathan Djanogly, which provides some context to the government's position regarding its various goals in tackling civil litigation costs.

As to details of how the MOJ axe has fallen on Legal Aid, the government also published its list of court closures as this report in Local Government Lawyer reveals.

From an insurer perspective, the news that reinsurance rates on motor insurance lines have been pushed up by as much as 50% cannot make easy reading for underwriters. 1st January is a big day in the treaty reinsurance renewal season and in a subscriber only story from Post Magazine on 7th January, broker Guy Carpenter says that higher claims frequency and an increase in the number of periodical payment orders has caused rates to rise.

One further topic which apparently continues to grate the insurance sector is the continued existence of the Assigned Risks Pool, which according to the Gazette's James Dean is the biggest  thorn in the side of the insurance industry.  

And finally, there has been speculation that the MOJ fast track personal injury process will be extended to include other types of claims; if Forum of Insurance Lawyers' president Tim Oliver  gets his way, then it will.