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SRA and MoJ ‘must get their heads together’ on inducements

'Simply unacceptable' that higher standards imposed on CMCs than solicitors

2 July 2013

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Personal injury lawyers have attacked the SRA's decision last week not to ban inducements by solicitors.

Andrew Twambley, senior partner of Amelans, said the SRA and the claims management regulator, which banned inducements from 1 April this year, should "get their heads together".

Twambley, director of the joint marketing scheme InjuryLawyers4U, which now has a membership of 60 firms, said the regulators should "sort out a common view" on the issue.

"Are they good or bad in the eyes of those who govern us?" he asked. "I have a problem with firms which offer inducements which don't exist or bring firms into disrepute."

Twambley attacked offers to accident victims of £1,500 up front or a free iPad, and said clients often did not get the money until their claim was submitted and the medical evidence agreed or the claim was settled and it was time for them to receive their damages anyway.

In the case of iPads, Twambley said there were similar terms and conditions to ensure they were unavailable, such as a minimum limit on damages.

"Clients never get the inducements, but they encourage people without a claim to make one.

"I'm sure there are legitimate schemes, but inducements must be looked at if they target vulnerable clients and are not genuine offers."

A spokeswoman for APIL said injured people "should not be distracted from choosing the best solicitor" by a cash inducement or gift from another who may not be best qualified to deal with the case.

"We're extremely disappointed that the Solicitors Regulation Authority did not feel it necessary to take a firm hand on inducements," she said. "The fact that a higher standard is already imposed on claims management companies but not on solicitors is simply unacceptable."

Craig Budsworth, chairman of MASS, said: "As an industry, we need to get rid of this perception of a compensation culture.

"If you walk down the street and see signs saying 'bring your claim here and we'll give you £1,500', that encourages bad behaviour and fraudulent behaviour."

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