Personal injury lawyers must ‘get out of the bunker’ to push their own agenda on behalf of claimants, an industry leader has stated.

John Spencer, of Derbyshire firm Spencers Solicitors, conceded in his first speech as president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) that members had developed a ‘siege mentality’ in recent years.

He told APIL’s annual conference that, after emerging from fee cuts and the LASPO act last year, the claimant sector now needs to be pro-active and positive in campaigning for victims’ rights, 

‘I believe - and hope - the worst of the reform agenda is behind us,’ said Spencer (pictured). ‘The time is therefore now right to drive forward in a new gear.’

APIL will concentrate in the next year on a campaign to help people who suffer psychiatric harm after the death of their loved ones.

It will also contest government attempts to push through the Mesothelioma Bill , which will help sufferers recover compensation from unknown insurers but at a cost to their damages, and the Medical Innovation Bill, which will attempt to lift the threat of litigation for doctors innovating in the treatment of cancer.

Spencer said: ‘To deprive someone of any of the compensation to which he is entitled when he may only have months to live is unconscionable.

‘Political debate during the passage of the Mesothelioma Bill made it very clear that 75% was about the best deal the government could get from the insurers. But this shouldn’t be about doing a deal. It should be about doing what’s right.’

On the Medical Innovation Bill, he added: ‘It has captured the imaginations of patients who have no idea that it is effectively a licence for doctors to play God. The bill appears to make no sense to those who are informed about the issues involved yet the government is picking it up and appears to be running with it.’

Spencer said APIL’s job will also be to keep up the pressure on the government to clamp down on pre-medical offers in RTA soft-tissue injury cases.