As you read this, Boris Johnson is probably PM and David Gauke, our first solicitor lord chancellor, may well have quit.
In that event, claimant solicitors will conclude that nothing in Gauke’s tenure so became him like the leaving of it.
His latest (last?) major decision came as a nasty shock to an insurance lobby used to getting its way at Westminster. So confident were the insurers of a revised discount rate in the 0-1% bracket that some booked one-off gains reflected in fattened shareholder dividends. As it is, their accountants have again been called into action. At least one insurer has announced a profit warning on the back of the -0.25% rate that will take effect from 5 August.
A few months ago, I speculated in this column that there was little chance the lord chancellor would disappoint the insurers. Not a particularly adventurous prediction, on past form; but it seems I underestimated him.
Still – and in my own defence – it is a curious kind of defeat that delivers insurers an extra £320m a year. Well worth continuing to shell out those subs to the ABI, clearly.
This week’s issue contains a compelling insight into another fast-moving sector of the claimant community. We are used to the red tops hyperventilating when legal action is mooted by foreigners against UK military personnel. Oddly, however, the press is less vocal about the plight of seriously injured service men and women who seek compensation from the Ministry of Defence when their military careers are cut short by negligence.
‘For whatever reason,’ one solicitor told us, ‘the MoD does seem to stretch out these claims, at the expense of the taxpayer.’
Perhaps this intransigent attitude stems from a culture which deems it perverse (at best) to sue for compensation, when you willingly sign up for what is such a dangerous (and selfless) job.
The Gazette would have been pleased to carry the MoD’s perspective on concerns raised in the article, but the ministry did not respond to our requests. The offer remains open.