Claimant lawyers seek to revive failed government EL schemes

The ABI has rejected claimant lawyers' calls for the resurrection of a government-led pilot scheme to streamline the claims process and reduce costs.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) is calling for the reinstatement of the failed Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) employers' liability (EL) pilot schemes to be used for personal injury claims.

The DWP pilot schemes were an attempt to reduce the high costs involved in settling EL claims. Targeting lower value claims, they attempted to develop protocols to deal with issues such as claims notification and settlement offers. The schemes collapsed after the TUC withdrew its support for them.

Apil argues that resurrecting these schemes is preferable to the ABI's own proposals for compensation reform, which it says are of "no value" and a "cynical way to save money".

Justin Jacobs, head of liability, motor and risk pricing at the ABI said revisiting the DWP's pilot schemes was unworkable. "The pilots would need the cooperation of all to work. The TUC hasn't changed its mind about them.

"Our proposals don't need the agreement of everyone to work. What are people scared of in trying them?"

Jacobs insisted that the ABI's proposals were not an attempt to prevent claimants seeking legal advice.

"In complex claims it is right to have legal advice. But for the majority of claims, things are straightforward and can be processed quickly. There is nothing in our proposals that gets rid of claimant lawyers."

He added that the ABI's proposals were "only controversial" among claimant lawyers not among the "majority of stakeholders".

Jacobs said: "The claimant lawyers can dig their heals in or engage and contribute. Doing nothing is not an option."