A personal injury specialist has indirectly linked up with a firm set up to recover costs for former clients of personal injury firms.
A spokesman for Manchester practice Clear Legal Limited, which has a minority share in PI firm Clear Law LLP, confirmed the merger took place last month with checkmylegalfees.com, based in Sheffield. The costs recovery outfit, one of a handful of firms specialising in clawing back unfair fee deductions, now says it is a ‘trading style’ of Clear Legal Limited.
The merger raises the intriguing likelihood that Clear Legal would effectively be pursuing rival personal injury firms to recover costs from them.
In a statement, Clear Legal said: ‘The decision [to merge] was made in order to bring together checkmylegalfees.com’s specialist expertise in pursuing complex claims against firms of solicitors arising from a failure to advise clients correctly about legal costs and Clear Legal Limited’s ability to successfully execute large volumes of claims while simultaneously maintaining the highest professional standards.’
Checkmylegalfees.com, along with another Yorkshire firm JG Solicitors, has become a bete noire of the personal injury sector, carving out a niche for suing on behalf of injured people who believe their former representatives deducted too much from their damages.
The costs recovery practice came to prominence in 2018 with the a series of satellite litigation examining whether firms should have to disclose funding documents requested by former clients. PI firms received an increase in claims from costs chasers following the Court of Appeal ruling in Herbert v HH Law in April 2019, which found that a client had not provided informed consent on the level of success fee to be deducted from her damages.
Another spike may be imminent after the Mail’s This is Money section report on the Herbert case, albeit 11 months after the ruling came out. Mark Carlisle, founder of checkmylegalfees.com, told the paper that more than two million people may have been overcharged by their personal injury firm.
Despite its exposure, the costs recovery site has remained a relatively small operation, with just three members of staff listed as working for it.
Clear Law is a much larger entity, posting a £4.6m turnover in its most recent accounts, covering the year ending 30 September 2018. Operating profit increased by 84% in the period to £564,000.