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Emplaw
Emplaw, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  LL.B F.InstL.Ex, Dip LP
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Is it possible to set up an in house legal department in an

Customer Question

Is it possible to set up an in house legal department in an accident management company? If so, how do I go about this? What is the approximate cost involved? Please confirm the need for qualified solicitors. Does the Legal Services Act allowed the involvement of non-qualified staff in the setting up of such a department?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Rob replied 5 years ago.
To work in an in house legal team there is no requirement to have a practicing certificate and some companies have a "risk team" whereby the claims handlers are not solicitors. They will use solicitors for court hearings and in order for you to instruct certain counsel it would be advisable for you to have a solicitor if the matter proceeds to court. It would be impossible to tell you what the approximate cost is without a full analyse of your situation.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Whilst I note there is no requirement to have a practice certificate to work in house, I imagine that there must be someone within the in-house team who does hold a practicing certificate. The intention is for the in-house team to do personal injury work, my understanding is that if the claims handlers are not solicitors then they would not be able to claim costs, is this correct. The company intend to appoint a non-qualified member of staff as a practice manager and employ solicitors to carry out the file handling, would there be any restriction on the non-qualified staff from holding a management position and/or from being able to claim costs should he get involved in fee earning work himself ?
Expert:  Rob replied 5 years ago.

There is no legal requirement for anyone within an in house department to have a practising certificate.

 

There is nothing to stop on a non solicitor being a manager.

 

On the costs issue I will get back to you tomorrow i am not a PI lawyer I need to speak to a colleague of mine and ill get back yo you tomorrow.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I wondered when i might expect your further comments to your answer given as above, you were to speak with a colleague who is a PI lawyer.
Expert:  Emplaw replied 5 years ago.

Please note that you are now required to be authorised by the Ministry of Justice to operate a claims management company. I suggest you look at the compensation act 2006. The government has sought fit to regulate claims management companies in the public interest because of the problems highlighted bythe likes of the accident group and claims direct.

 

Please accept this answer and I will be happy to help you further if you require

 

Thank you

Emplaw

Emplaw, Solicitor
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 157
Experience: LL.B F.InstL.Ex, Dip LP
Emplaw and 2 other UK Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We are already an existing accident management company, it is only the in-house legal department that would be new. The intention would be to deal with PI claims in-house and I need to know how we go about setting up the department so as we can claim costs from third party insurance companies.
Expert:  Emplaw replied 5 years ago.

Are you authorised by the Ministry of Justice? There is nothing to stop you from setting up an in-house legal department. Practising certificates are required for any solicitors who are involved in the in-house legal department. You will also need professional indemnity insurance. As far as I am aware you can only claim costs using solicitors otherwise the costs will be assessed at a rate equivalent to litigants in person. There have been important distinction is being made in the Court of Appeal and High Court regarding solicitors and normal solicitors acting in litigation matters and claiming costs. In other words in order to claim your full costs back it would have to be done by a solicitor. Having solicitors in the legal department would enable you to do work for insurance companies and apply to become members of their panels. There are numerous companies throughout the country who will employee in-house solicitors and any solicitors employed must comply with their professional rules of conduct which will find on the solicitors regulation authority website. In addition if you hold money for clients who may be required to comply with the solicitors accounts rules and have two submit every year to the Law Society. There is a lot of information on the Law Society website regarding this.

Thank you

Emplaw

Expert:  Rob replied 5 years ago.
If a solicitor wishes to remain a solicitor they are required to have a practising certificate but this is only really for litigation purposes and generally for cost reasons. There are plenty of in house solicitors who dont have practising certificates. There is no requirment to be a "practising" solicitor to work in house. To act as an inhouse solicitor you do not need professional indemnity insurance. Costs can be recovered under 48.6 cpr by claims handlers if they are suprivised by a practising solicitor and the other side is aware. In house solicitors do not hold any money of their employees as they dont have sepreate bank accounts.

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LL.B F.InstL.Ex, Dip LP