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MAGIC TRICKS

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers is developing an uncanny knack for pulling rabbits out of hats. This month was the news that whiplash claim numbers are falling.

A highly anticipated meeting of the Transport Select Committee took place early this month, with Whiplash compensation on the agenda and apparently in expectation of continued calls by insurers to increase the small claims limit to £5000. In preparation, APIL pointed out how claim numbers had been dropping despite repeated declarations to the contrary. APIL President Karl Tonks,   called for "sanity" in the debate after a 4.2% fall in numbers of whiplash claims was recorded from 2010-11 to 2011-12. Not sure if he meant to be referred to as an '   Angry campaigner' though...

Meanwhile, at the Select Committee meeting at which Premex CEO Dr Simon Margolis represented medical reporting agencies under his role as AMRO Chairman   , insurers such as Aviva called for a raft of changes to the rules

As the industry grapples with myriad pending concerns, the ban on referral fees in personal injury claims has remained firmly on the agenda. It seems that with solicitors often found bereft of advice as to how they can manage the change, their regulator appears to be taking a 'cruel to be kind' approach. A discussion paper reported by the Law Society Gazette from the Solicitors Regulation Authority was interpreted thus: "the regulator says solicitors and firms should be able to work out from the legislation behind the ban which arrangements are acceptable."

Handholding aside, there is evidence   from this report in the Lawyer that a number of firms have already begun to shift their stance and will be marketing to a completely new demographic come LJJ Day next April. Sam Chadderton's piece merges nicely one tale of woe from the Association of Costs Lawyers who predicted 'less work, more redundancies, reduced profits', into a broader article explaining how Downton Abbey may be the future programme of choice for personal injury advertisers, rather than the more familiar Jeremy Kyle tea-break fayre.