The Law Society is to make its own representations in a Supreme Court case that could have major implications for the personal injury sector. The representative body has been granted permission to intervene in Haven v Gavin Edmondson Solicitors Limited, which is due for a two-day hearing starting next month.
The case considers the issue of a defendant insurer that contacted injured parties directly after they had been notified of a claim by solicitors through the RTA claims portal.
The insurer then settled claims directly with the claimants on terms which did not provide for their solicitors to be paid their fixed costs under the portal scheme.
The case has see-sawed in the lower courts: the insurer prevailed in the High Court before the law firm successful challenged that decision in the Court of Appeal. In that appeal, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones ruled that Haven had entered into each settlement agreement with notice of Edmondson’s entitlement and that the principle of ‘equitable intervention’ required that the insurer pay legal costs.
In a statement, the Law Society said it was intervening ‘because we believe the case has important implications for solicitors’. A spokesperson added: ‘We are asking the Supreme Court to confirm that the equitable lien can be applied to protect solicitors’ rights to their costs in modern litigation; particularly in fixed costs regimes where the indemnity principle does not apply.’