Justice minister, Jonathan Djanogly, has been removed from his position of responsibility in regulating personal injury solicitor firms that engage in ‘ambulance chasing’ behaviour due to a startling discovery, sources say.
Mr Djanogly was found to be concealing the fact that both himself and his family members would reap the benefits from controversial and well-publicised changes to legal aid that he was spearheading in Parliament. As the heir to a family business worth £300 million, the justice minister neglected to declare that his teenage children had minority shares in two businesses owned by his brother-in-law that advertise personal injury claims, which is the industry that Mr Djanogly had been attempting to regulate.
Claims management firms will pursue those suffering personal injuries in order to to refer them to personal injury lawyers for a fee. The Legal Services Board said this past May that the case for a blanket ban on such fees has yet to be made out, but Mr Djanogly announced such a ban just four months later, yet made sure there were exclusions in place that would leave his brother-in-law’s businesses unscathed through a legal loophole.
The justice secretary made the admission last week that cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O’donnell, had begun an inquiry into the matter as a possible conflict of interest. Sir Gus penned a letter to Andy Slaughter, the Labour Party justice spokesman who had initially raised the matter, stating that claims management firm regulation will be be handled henceforth from another minister, though there were no suggestions that Mr Djanogly acted in an improper fashion in relation to his brother-in-law’s businesses.