The group representating RTA solicitors has reaffirmed its opposition to members offering up-front payments or gifts for cases.
The Gazette understands that the issue was discussed at the annual general meeting of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society yesterday and members chose to continue to support a ban.
The Ministry of Justice has prohibited claims management companies from offering inducments, but the Solicitors Regulation Authority has opted out of a ban.
This week justice secretary Chris Grayling said he wanted talks with the SRA to discuss a possible ban as part of the response to the government’s consultation on whiplash injury claims.
In his speech at the MASS conference today, chair Craig Budsworth said it was up to solicitors to fight the idea of a compensation culture, and that banning enticements should be a key part of that effort. 'Whatever the figures might actually demonstrate, there is a perception of a compensation culture,’ said Budsworth. 'And a perception that we are at least in part responsible. We need to change that perception.'
He said that all three regulators - the Claims Management Regulator, the SRA and the Financial Conduct Authority, have a responsibility to regulate similar practices within the field of road accidents. 'We have called for greater consistency and effective communication between the three regulators. This is vital to create a level playing field across the sector.’
The Gazette understands that some MASS members who offer up-front payments have registered their dismay at their representative’s stance. They argue they chose to offer enticements instead of paying referral fees for claims, and in doing so have made sure money goes to clients rather than claims managers.
One law firm manager told the Gazette: ’These monies are used to assist our clients, not to coerce them into bringing a claim. The said sums are only paid out once a full admission is received and once medical evidence has been agreed by the claimant.’