All Solicitors are fully qualified legal professionals who are regulated by an independent authority – the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Claims Management Companies on the other hand do not require any legal qualifications and may have no legal training at all. They developed rapidly from about 2000 in response to legal and regulatory developments.
The method of operation of some of these companies rapidly began to cause concern. The Government introduced voluntary registration but so few companies joined the scheme that this was made compulsory in April 2007.
All legitimate Claims Management Companies must now be registered with the Ministry of Justice. Since April 2007 more than one hundred claims companies have had their authorisations cancelled by the Ministry as part of an ongoing crackdown on firms who mislead the public.
Companies’ authorisations have been cancelled for failure to comply with the claims regulation conduct rules, including ignoring requests for information from the regulator, criminal convictions for fraud, persistently misleading marketing and non-payment of regulation fees.
Most Claims Management Companies operate by selling their work to other Solicitors, who may be based anywhere in the UK. These Solicitors are willing to pay fees of around £600 or more per case to Claims Management Companies because they have been unable to attract enough business through reputation alone and the likelihood is that they will not be based locally.
Sometimes there is no substitute for local knowledge. I was recently instructed by a client who had a fall close to our office. He initially went to a Claims Management Company in the area and was promised that he would get a good settlement fast. His case was then sold to a Cheshire based company who when faced with a denial of liability from the local authority advised our client that his case had insufficient prospects of success.
He then instructed me and it quickly became apparent that he had fallen over exactly the same defect in the highway that another of my clients had fallen over months earlier. It transpired that although the earlier accident had been reported, the local authority had failed to repair the defect. In the end the Local Authority admitted liability and paid my client £1950 in damages to settle the case.
If your case is sold to a Solicitor outside your area you will be denied the local knowledge and experience that often proves to be the difference between winning and losing.
If you would like to instruct an experienced, qualified professional to deal with your claim for personal injury, contact Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP on 0151 236 5000.