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Article dated February 2017
Whiplash Compensation Reform
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has conceded to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee that the insurance industry has saved ‘hundreds of millions of pounds’ from reforms to personal injury in 2013. It also confirmed that the number of whiplash claims has come down in the last year.
These are important admissions because the insurance industry continues to lobby for further changes which will affect access to justice for genuine claimants injured in accidents.
One of the changes under discussion is whether to increase the small claims compensation limit for personal injury cases from £1,000 to £5,000. The importance of this is that legal costs are not claimable if the injury compensation is assessed at below the minimum figure. The current minimum is £1,000 meaning that wherever there is a significant injury, claimants will recover reasonable legal costs if they sue for compensation and win. If the small claims limit goes up to £5,000, hundreds of thousands of people will chose not to pursue claims. The insurance industry will benefit but for the general public the outcome would be unjust.
The small claims rules were designed to deal with low value disputes such as faulty goods or small unpaid invoices. Ordinary people who have suffered minor soft tissue injuries, including injuries sustained in non-motor accidents, need expert legal help to navigate the court system and understand medical evidence. Ordinary people who bring claims without legal support often run into difficulties with insurance companies who are reluctant to settle claims or to settle claims at a reasonable level.
The President of the Law Society, Robert Bourns, has said ‘a fivefold increase in the small claims limit would prevent claimants from recovering legal costs, which means that many people would not be able to obtain legal representation for claims, forcing people to fight through the courts without legal help’.
The fact that the insurance industry has had a major financial boost from the changes brought in in 2013 undermines their efforts to persuade the Government to introduce further reforms.
Instead of trying to reduce or abolish compensation for genuine claimants, the Government should instead look at the activities of cold callers.
Research by consumer organization Which? showed last year that the insurance industry had failed to deliver on a promise to reduce insurance premiums after the 2013 reforms.
Well done to everyone that took part today you have all been amazing!!!!
We have raised a whopping £359.41
The partners have donated an extra £100 in lieu of sending Christmas cards this year making the total raised £459.41
Thank you everyone!!!!!
MACMILLAN COFFEE MORNING
Posted 13th October 2016
We are proud to have raised £216.50 at our recent Macmillan Coffee morning.
'Borders’ BBC Radio 4
Posted 3rd May 2016
Our Litigation Solicitor, Rod Dutton, was a contributor to the Borders programme on Radio 4, 28th April 2016, along with Robert Knight, a former client of the firm.
The programme, which was a three-part series, was presented by the historian and broadcaster Frances Stonor Saunders.
Loosely based on Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ the series explored the importance of borders in our daily lives. The series was a wide-ranging discussing including contributions from historians, writers, and politicians. Rod spoke about boundary disputes and the importance of physical borders for those who choose to take their disputes through the courts.
The programme can be accessed on BBC iPlayer or on a podcast on the BBC website.
'Get Britain Standing'
On 29th April, Jacobs & Reeves will be taking part in “Get Britain Standing”- a national campaign to improve workplace health.
Get Britain Standing highlights the issues of sitting for prolonged periods of time and provides a day of awareness in getting people moving rather than sitting.
Jacobs & Reeves will be taking part in the following:
• An alert will sound at random times and everyone must stand up when it does. A fine for those caught napping. (This will be when clients aren’t in the office!)
• Taking regular breaks from the computer, standing up, stretching and walking around the office.
• Making phone calls standing up.
• Using the stairs.
• A lunchtime walk.
Rod Dutton's achievement
Posted 17th April 2016
On Sunday 10th April the Sunday Times published their first supplement listing the Top 175 Solicitors in the UK based on reviews on the independent consumer ratings website VouchedFor.co.uk. We are proud, but not at all surprised, to say that Rod Dutton was featured.
To be included Rod was highly recommended by 14 of his clients. All had rated his services over 4 stars out of 5, which is a fantastic achievement. We’d like to thank all of the clients who took the time to share their positive feedback on VouchedFor.co.uk.
Comments Adam Price, Founder of VouchedFor.co.uk: “At VouchedFor we’re passionate about helping people find great financial and legal advice. At certain points in life the majority of us would benefit from expert help with complex issues such as pension planning, securing a mortgage or for advice on a legal issue. Listing professionals alongside verified reviews from their existing clients makes it easy to find a respected and trusted expert like Rod to help. We would like to congratulate Rod on being one of the Top 175 - it’s a great endorsement of the service Rod provides.
You can see his reviews clicking here.
Bob Boyce, a partner in the firm, retired on 31st March 2016. Tom Filleul who joined the firm in 2012 was made a partner on 1st April 2016.
Orla Laurenson who was a trainee Solicitor has now completed her training contract and was admitted as a Solicitor on 15th April 2016.
Orla is now located in our Wimborne, dealing with residential property matters.
Posted 7th April 2016
Jacobs & Reeves has secured the renewal of the national Law Society's law management quality mark, Lexcel, which we were first accredited in 2011.
Lexcel is developed specifically for the legal profession. It is an optional, recognised accreditation scheme for law firms and in-house legal departments which gives assurance that a practice meets high client care and business management standards.
To gain and retain Lexcel accreditation, practice must undergo a rigorous initial then annual application and assessment process. This includes conducting background checks and an on-site visit from an experienced, trained Lexcel assessor in 2011 and subsequent re-accreditations.
Rob Nickless, Senior Partner said: "While we are proud to have secured Lexcel, it is our clients and staff who are the main beneficiaries. They can be assured that the way we manage the practice has their interests at heart and runs efficiently. There is a lot of choice in the legal services market, but being Lexcel accredited demonstrates our commitment to client care and best practice."
Jonathan Smithers, President of the Law Society of England and Wales, said:
“Gaining and maintaining Lexcel is no mean feat. There are many facets of being a Lexcel accredited law firm, including client care. A commitment to customer service in today's evermore competitive legal services market is vital.
By undergoing the rigorous Lexcel application and assessment process practices can show the positive steps they are taking to help clients in the increasingly diverse, complicated legal services market.
The scheme is a beacon of quality to clients and potential clients alike."
Jacobs & Reeves joins more than 1700 other legal practices in England & Wales with Lexcel accreditation. The practice management accolade has also gone international, with firms in Scotland, the Middle East, Poland and the Republic of
Ireland having gained accreditation.
Senior judges lambast government over court fees
Posted 27th January 2017
High Court challenge to the ban on heterosexual civil partnerships
Posted 19th January 2016
A two day hearing has started in the High Court in London in which Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan are challenging the ban on heterosexual civil partnerships. The case is being brought on the basis that a refusal to allow them to enter into a civil partnership amounts to discrimination and is in breach of their right to family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
There is some support for the couple in Parliament. A private member’s bill is to receive its second reading on 29th January and has cross-party backing. The former Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton, said ‘opposite-sex couples who do not want to go down the formal marriage route are completely unrecognised in the eyes of the state… at a time when we want to do everything to encourage family stability… it is absurd that the state has no way of recognising and celebrating these relationships. It is high time we recognised equal civil partnership to give greater security to millions of our citizens’.
Jacobs & Reeves has a strong team of family lawyers who advise on all aspects of the law relating to marriage, couples, and children. Our private client department can advise on inheritance and related matters.
Posted 12th January 2016
With the phasing out of legal aid, civil and family courts are dealing with increased numbers of litigants who have no professional representation. Some people are turning to unqualified advisors to assist them in presenting their case.
A McKenzie Friend is the name given to someone who assists an unrepresented litigant in court. A McKenzie Friend is only allowed to give advice and he/she cannot offer representation. There is no requirement that the McKenzie Friend is legally qualified and nor is there any code of conduct that they have to follow.
The Judiciary is in the process of reviewing the role played by McKenzie Friends in the courts. A previous judicial review recommended a code of conduct but the recommendations were not implemented by the Government and there is currently no regulation.
The public needs to be aware that although there are now professional McKenzie Friends who charge for their services there is still no requirement for them to have any legal training or professional indemnity insurance at all. They are, at present, wholly unregulated.
Jacobs & Reeves offer competitive terms and can deal with most types of litigation, whether civil or family. Get professional advice. Instruct a solicitor.
Insurers and whiplash
Posted 11th January 2015
In last November’s Autumn Statement the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced a further ‘crackdown’ on injury compensation claims. Mr Osborne would like to abolish the entitlement to claim damages for wrongful injuries where the injuries are not (in his view) serious. He wants to abolish the right to claim for minor whiplash and intends to make it harder for Claimants by denying any entitlement to make a claim for legal costs where solicitors are instructed to sue for compensation where the injury compensation entitlement is £5,000 or less.
An attempt to ban the right to claim for injuries would take us back to pre-Victorian times and serves no real purpose other than to boost revenues for insurance companies. Mr Osborne boasts that his plans will cut insurance premiums but no obligation is placed on insurers to cut premiums and it would appear that the Government is prepared to trust the insurers to cut their premiums voluntarily rather than passing their profits back to their shareholders.
The proposals are out for formal and public consultation. Expect further developments in the Spring.
Sir Paul McCartney’s neighbour faces legal bill of almost £500,000.
Posted 31st March 2015
Sir Paul’s neighbour, Brenda Dorothy Fenton, has succeed in her claim in nuisance against fellow neighbour, Clive Lewis.
Damp was first spotted in Mrs Fenton’s home in 2003 and had gradually developed causing thousands of pounds worth of damage. Judgment has now confirmed the cause of this damage was Mr Lewis’ unmaintained gutter which, for years, had been penetrating Mrs Fenton’s home.
Judge Edward Bailey noted that remedial works to the gutter would cost Mr Lewis about £7000. Instead, he must now pay damages to Mrs Fenton of £27,000 for the corrective work required to her home, an award for loss of amenity of £50,000 (compensation for the effect it has had on Mrs Fenton’s enjoyment of her home), Mrs Fenton’s legal costs totalling £170,000 and his own legal costs, which is likely to amount to a similar figure.
As part of the Court Order Judge Bailey also provided an injunction commanding Mr Lewis to have his extension roof reconstructed, ensuring rainwater does not drain into Mrs Fenton’s property in future.
An action in private nuisance is principally a claim for the unreasonable interference with your enjoyment of your land or home. If you would like advice on this area of law our litigation department would be pleased to help. Please contact Ashleigh Lydford or Rod Dutton on 01202 661 544.
Wills advert launches on ITV Player
This week sees the launch of our wills animated advert as part of our consumer campaign.
The advert will run throughout March and April and highlights the importance of having a will.
View the advert - don't forget to Tweet, share and link to it!
High Court grants permission for Rights of Women to challenge the lawfulness of government changes to legal aid
Posted 22nd September 2014
Today, the High Court granted permission for Rights of Women to challenge the lawfulness of government changes to legal aid.
The changes are preventing victims of domestic abuse from getting legal aid for family cases, even when it is clear there has been violence, or there is an ongoing risk of violence. Represented by the Public Law Project and supported by the Law Society, Rights of Women argue that this is not what parliament intended.
The Lord Chancellor acted 'unlawfully' in the way he consulted on controversial plans to shake up criminal legal aid, the High Court ruled today
Posted 22nd September 2014
Mr Justice Burnett said that the ministry’s failure to disclose the findings of two key reports on plans to introduce new dual criminal legal aid contracts was ‘so unfair as to result in illegality’. Quashing the lord chancellor’s decision to limit the number of duty provider contracts to 525 he advised a ‘relatively short’ reconsultation of the profession.
Litigants in person are not getting fair hearings in family courts
Posted 3rd September 2014
Litigants in person are not getting fair hearings, the Common’s Justice Committee heard this morning.
The committee was taking evidence from Susan Jacklin QC, chair of the Family Law Bar Association, Dave Emmerson, co-chair of Resolution’s legal aid committee, Nicola Jones-King, co-chair of the Association of Lawyers for Children and Jane Robey, director of National Family Mediation.
The justice committee is enquiring into the impact of the cuts to civil legal aid, introduced in the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 last April, which removed public funding for most private law family cases.
Since the act, the number of people forced to represent themselves in court in family cases has increased dramatically, increasing the time taken to resolve disputes.
In cases since the cuts, where one party has been unrepresented, Jacklin told the committee: ‘Many young barristers felt the outcome was not fair for non-represented parties.’
While the barrister can put their client’s case, she said, however good the judge is at dealing with the litigant in person, it does not make up for the lack of representation.
Emmerson said the lack of research done in relation to the outcomes for litigants in person makes it difficult to quantify the effect.
But he highlighted the difficulties they face in relation to understanding the law, preparing their case and marshalling their information and arguments in court.
Although judges are trained in how to deal with them, it is still ‘unbelievably difficult’ to extract information from litigants in person, he said.
Any assistance given to unrepresented parties by the judge, the opponents, lawyer, law centre or others, Jones-King said, is just a ‘sticking plaster’, as parties are denied the strategic support provided a lawyer.
What is needed, said the lawyers, is legal advice to focus cases at an early stage.
Emmerson said resources also needed to be out in place to provide out of court settlements, which he said barristers and solicitors are keen to use.
The representative groups expressed concern about the growing trend of commercial McKenzie friends – unqualified, untrained and unregulated advisers who owe no professional duty to the court or the client, and the low number of cases that have been granted exceptional funding.
The Law Society celebrates 65 years of Legal Aid
Posted 30th July 2014
Jacobs & Reeves get involved in the Wimborne Front Door Project
Posted 20th June 2014
We’re delighted that you would be interested in taking part in the Farrow & Ball Wimborne Doors Project. Our aim is to paint the door of every business in Wimborne, to tie-in with the rebranding of Wimborne and help to improve the look and feel of the town
We will also host an event aiming to attract local and national media attention on the square on Friday 20th June and invite local, regional and national media generating press attention for Wimborne, local businesses and Farrow & Ball.
I’ve listed the route that we will be taking tomorrow 20th June below so if you want to come along after The Mayor’s introduction at 12pm, please do!
1. Start at The Square
2. Walk up West Street to Mia and Milo’s
3. Walk down to The Corn Market and Fair Ground
4. Walk round to Cook Row and No.9 on the Green
5. Continue towards the High Street and down Sorrells, The Hintons and Holmans
6. Walk along Kings Street to Wimborne Model Town
7. Walk back down Kings Street towards East Street
8. Walk down East Street to Jacob and Reeves
9. Walk back along East Street, onto thee High Street and up to Costa and RT Media
10. Walk back towards The Square and up West Borough to NFU Mutual where the tour will end