Two law firms are being investigated over prohibited links with medical agencies, the Gazette can reveal. The Solicitors Regulation Authority is looking into reports about two firms that have been made through the MedCo scheme for expert accreditation.
It is understood that the probe includes looking into potential financial links between the firms and medical reporting organisations – links which MedCo was formulated to abolish. There are no details about the size of firms or how far along the investigations are, although it is understood they have both started in the last year.
News of the investigation comes as MedCo itself urged any whistleblowers within the scheme to report law firms they have suspicions about.
The organisation posted a notice on its website advising medical experts with concerns that an instructing solicitor’s terms and conditions may be in breach of the rules to contact the SRA.
A spokeswoman later added: ‘MedCo intermittently receives enquiries from medical experts regarding the terms and conditions being applied by solicitors in relation to the expert’s provision of a medical report and associated fee arrangements.
‘In these instances, MedCo directs the expert to the SRA.’
MedCo was created by former justice secretary Chris Grayling with a view to creating an independent accredited panel of medical experts to diagnose whiplash claims. The system went live in April 2015.
Medical reporting organisations and qualified medical professionals pay to register with the scheme and are allocated cases on a random basis from instructing lawyers.
Claimant representatives are required to declare any direct financial links with MROs and direct medical experts.
MedCo states it is the responsibility of the instructing solicitor to engage ‘ethically’ and ensure the terms and conditions they apply are compliant with the relevant, rules, directions and guidance.
MedCo requires all registered users to submit documentary evidence to prove compliance with the qualifying criteria.