Peter Dobie raises important points in "Higher Standards Required" (Legal Report,19 October) many of which I wholeheartedly agree with.
The solicitor practice of 'speccing' cases undermines the after-the-event (ATE) model and can result only in higher premiums for the remaining cases. Sadly, the FSA appears to share the Law Society's lack of interest in the subject.
On a more positive note, the dialogue with liability insurers that Dobie mentions has steadily increased and done much to resolve more minor issues without recourse to litigation.
However, his rather selective commentary on the recent Rogers case, focusing on Lady Justice Smith's remarks about prospect of success and risk assessment, is more difficult to support.
The rule that prospects should be better than 50% for a case to proceed is a cornerstone of before-the-event (BTE) legal protection. Surely ATE policies should offer comparable cover to the often disadvantaged minority who have neither a BTE policy nor the means to privately fund a case.
Further, it is wrong to suggest that there is no ongoing assessment of prospects and risk in ATE cases. At inception, at issue of proceedings and approaching trial, prospects are assessed and must remain better than 50% for a case to continue.
Finally, I must counter Dobie's observation that Rogers has done little to clarify what is or is not recoverable. Perhaps no definitive figures were set down, but this is a positive thing. Post Rogers, challenges to our justice solutions model have tailed off considerably. At least one ATE product has been scrutinised at the highest level to the apparent satisfaction of most defendant insurers, who now accept our offering and pay the premiums in full.
Phil Bellamy, Operations manager