Personal Injury Claimants should have free choice of solicitor
March 2010: A recent decision by the European Court of Justice decided that individual Claimants should have the freedom to instruct a solicitor of their choice to act for them in a personal injury claim funded by their home insurance or other legal expenses insurance.
Until recently legal expenses insurers had insisted that individuals must use one of their panel solicitors in the vast majority of cases unless Court proceedings had been issued. That meant that Claimants often had to use a solicitor many miles away from their home when they would have preferred to use local personal injury experts.
Jonathan Ditchburn of Hough Halton & Soal commented, "It has always been extremely frustrating when we have advise clients who have legal expenses insurance and have had to tell them that the insurers will not fund a firm of their choice. We tend to find that most clients want to use us anyway but the European Court's judgement clarifies that clients should have free choice of legal representation.
I have no doubt that some legal expenses insurers will continue to put obstacles in the way of freedom of choice as many of them make a lot of money from selling personal injury claims to their panel solicitors. However, hopefully this will be the first step to allow injured people to choose their own solicitors."