Paying “some” legal costs

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I mentioned the other day the poll of members of the public commissioned by Irwin Mitchell as part of their anti-Jackson lobbying.

One of the “results” from this poll was:

• Almost half (47%) say that they would be less likely to bring a claim for compensation if they thought they may have to pay some of the legal costs.

Like all these things, it depends quite how the question is phrased. And how much “less” is “less likely”?  Let’s remember, the proposal, which will now be introduced, is that in personal injury claims any success fee recoverable from the claimant will be capped at 25% of damages excluding future care and loss. So for a more serious injury with future care and loss of earnings, the choice a claimant may face is whether to pursue a claim that currently would allow them to keep £100,000 but would, in the future, allow them to keep £90,000. Are 47% of people really not going to bother bringing such claims in the future? Even for low value claims for general damages only, are people not going to bring a claim worth £2,000 if £500 will go to the lawyer in success fee? And, if they don’t, is society really going to be worse off?

However, in a press release following the government’s Jackson announcement, Andrew Tucker, head of Personal Injury for Irwin Mitchell, said:

“Our own research shows that just under half of people (47%) would not bring a valid claim for compensation if they thought that they would have to pay some of the legal costs”.

Since when did “less likely to bring a claim” become “would not bring a valid claim”?

More inaccurate spin, but this time too late to make any difference.

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