Peter Ashdown-Barr, InterResolve

Ashdown-Barr suggested that legal costs could spiral out of control over the next few years. He quoted a recent survey by Datamonitor, which predicted "the cost of these claims is going to soar up to £7bn per year in the next few years".

According to Ashdown-Barr: "The present system is simply too adversarial, too inefficient and too expensive."

Any solution should address legal costs, rather than attacking lawyers. Proportionate costs would bolster independent legal advice.

Ashdown-Barr said that many proposals for reform "are based around the adversarial system and start with using the pre-action protocol".

His answer is "a new industry-wide non-litigation system where lawyers are there to act as advisors first, and litigators last".

Ashdown-Barr detailed InterResolve's position in the marketplace: "We are neutral. We are not a claims management company. We do not buy and sell cases. We do not charge case referral fees. We are not a law firm and we are not an insurer agent. We are neutral, independent and non-conflicted."

Tesco's interest in an InterResolve pilot scheme is testament to the system's potential, according to Ashdown-Barr. He detailed the main ingredients of a non-litigation system:

  • Reaching claimants early
  • Early care and early fraud checks
  • A simplified, quicker and cheaper settlement process.
  • Ashdown-Barr also called for greater use of alternative dispute resolution which, he said, was "one of the most under-used and under-understood methods" for settling claims.