Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, has slammed the system that allows personal injury solicitors to charge fees of £74,000 when the compensation awarded to their client was less than £13,000.
A plumber with a minor injury had visited a firm of no win no fee lawyers to help him claim personal injury compensation. The fees charged by the firm could reach as much as £250 per hour and these were to be doubled if the case was won! The case didn’t actually make it into court and the plumber was awarded £12,750.
The man in question worked for Bradford Jacuzzi UK and claimed he suffered a personal injury at work because his job assembling shower cubicles was so repetitive that he developed pain.
Lord Neuberger, along with two other Appeal Court judges criticised law firms for charging excessive fees. The government is currently trying to reduce the costs associated with the civil justice system and no win no fee lawyers are coming under particular scrutiny.
Lord Neuberger pointed out that this case was not particularly exceptional and he hopes that legislative changes will make sure that lawyers’ fees will become more proportionate.
A lot of people want to see the no win no fee system abolished completely. However, opponents say that will take away access to justice for the most vulnerable members of society. The Government’s proposals are still being debated in parliament but hopefully a solution will soon be agreed upon that will be acceptable to the majority of people.