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There was much fuss when the new portal fees were being proposed. Karl Tonks, previous president of APIL, said:
“Lawyers cannot reasonably be expected to run cases at a loss. But if the proposed fees are implemented, the only alternative will be to turn claimants away or take legal fees from a claimant’s damages, which flies in the face of the principles of justice.”
Interesting that I’ve just come across a Form of Authority that was signed by a claimant on 19 June 2010 giving the following authorisation to his solicitor:
“Client Management Fee – as per my signed Client Agreement with AAH to irrevocably and unconditionally pay on my behalf the AAH CMF in the sum of £379.00 plus VAT from my damages [emphasis added] to AAH (or as it shall direct) at the conclusion of my claim”
It’s not clear what the Client Management Fee is designed to cover or what service the claims management company performs that goes further than that offered by the solicitors. Nevertheless, it does seem that many solicitors (ie those who were panel members of this scheme) were happy to see their clients recover less than 100% of their damages prior to the fee change. And given the scheme is endorsed by Esther Rantzen it must be OK.