Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

'No win, no fee' lawyers must be brought to heel


Sir, With regard to the letter 'No win, no fee lawyers must be curbed' (Letters, February 2) we would wholeheartedly agree with your correspondent's comments.

As a subcontractor, we have in recent years been on the wrong end of two spurious claims in respect of so-called injuries allegedly sustained at work by employees.

The first of these cases resulted in the worker being granted £2,500 in damages by the court for an injury that was so severe it required the worker to take a whole two days off work.

More importantly, the solicitor's fees amounted to £12,500 for a few phone calls and at least four or five letters.

In the second case, having learned our lesson, we ensured that all of the correct paperwork was in place and we firmly believed that we had totally demonstrated that the claim was spurious in the extreme.

After much lengthy and very costly correspondence with the claimant's solicitors, we sat back on our laurels.

Not so! The claimant's insurers turned their attention towards the main contractor, whose insurers in turn agreed to settle the claim in a 75:25 split with our own insurers.

Our own insurers then informed us that while they believed that we had a 'cast-iron case', they were still going to accept this offer of paying 25 per cent, as it represented a cheaper option to them than contesting the claim.

While this decision had no immediate effect upon us, we were left to wonder what effect this must have upon all of our insurance premiums if this cop-out scenario was ref lected across the industry.

It would appear that the application of common sense ceases at the door of any magistrates' court.

When soldiers and policemen can submit claims for work-related stress and builders can submit claims for tripping over, then surely the law really is an ass.

'What did you expect when you signed on?' never seems to be asked.

If you trip over a block while walking across the site now, the ambulance-chasers are keen to call you a 'victim'.

Ten years ago, you would have been called a clumsy bastard.

Alan J Burton Address Supplied