Amid all the doom and gloom of Jackson et al, perhaps the best thing that has happened to our profession in recent years is the government’s collaboration with the insurance industry orchestrating the complete collapse of the personal injury sector. With headlines suggesting ‘shock’, and announcing redundancies and closures of specialist personal injury firms all over the country, at last we have a breath of sanity creeping back and an opportunity to practise our core values.
It is a great shame that we could not have put our own house in order, and while I do not shed a tear for the ambulance chasers who have become fat cats with the collusion of the claims farmers, the Law Society and the profession must bear a heavy responsibility for the blighted careers of so many young lawyers.
I have been in practice now for more than 44 years. I earned a good living from personal injury long before the unwelcome arrival of ‘referral fees’ and will now do so again.
I voted against advertising in the referendum of the mid-1980s, when by a narrow majority the floodgates were opened. Who then would have predicted that, as a profession, we would barter our integrity for the so-called rewards of free enterprise? Little wonder that a subsequent decline in public trust and respect for our profession quickly followed.
I have no sympathy whatsoever for those who espoused the custom of the common market and vied with competitors to offer the greatest up-front incentives to a generation of whiplash victims. Perhaps now we will be spared all those tasteless TV adverts, unsolicited text messages, hospital waiting room videos and all the paraphernalia of the personal injury industry. All we need now is a suitable obituary and to consign the last two decades of greed to the dustbin of history.
David Kirwan, Kirwans, Merseyside