Written on: 20/08/2013
experience, the legal expenses insurance provided by Arc Legal Assistance is
little more than a damp squib. It provided me with no benefit when I needed legal
help and I would not consider paying for it again - not under any
Peace of mind? I
don’t think so. I found dealing with Arc Legal and its panel solicitors, Irwin
Mitchell, more stressful and frustrating than coping with the legal dispute
with which I applied for assistance in the first place!
It would appear to me from my very negative
experience that the ubiqitous reasonable prospects of success test is capable
of being manipulated to the nth degree. In my case, I was told that the merits
of my case could not be assessed unless I first spent hundreds, if not
thousands, on experts’ reports which might, or might not, at some point in the
distant future, be required to support the case.
numerous non-panel solicitors, on the other hand, did not require me to fund
experts’ reports before assessing the merits of my claim. However, Arc would only
provide cover for Irwin Mitchell. I wonder if Irwin Mitchell pay Arc a referral
I was told to
write letters myself, to ask a surveyor for legal advice as to whether or not
the Party Wall Act applied and eventually informed, after jumping through hoops
for weeks on end, that I wouldn’t be covered unless I could demonstrate that my
claim was worth more than 10K, ie, the present small claims limit.
In my opinion, if it is Arc Legal’s intention not to fund
cases potentially worth less than £10,000, this should be spelt out in its
policies in BIG RED letters.
Had I gone ahead and paid for experts’ reports in order to
have my case assessed, as initially suggested by Irwin Mitchell, this would
have been a complete waste of money, given that they would then have proceeded
to write to Arc stating that in their opinion my case was potentially a small
claim and should not be funded because they wouldn’t get the costs back, even
It is clear to
me that, despite having the supposed benefit of legal expenses insurance, I was
treated by Irwin Mitchell no differently to a no win/no fee approach. In other
words, my case would not be taken on unless Irwin Mitchell was almost certain
of winning. In the end, I acted in
person and won my case, no thanks to Arc and no thanks to Irwin Mitchell.
Incidentally, I paid a non-panel lawyer privately to confirm my opinion that
the Party Wall Act did not apply. Irwin Mitchell were unable to provide this
confirmation, due, presumably, to lack of expertise.
the powers that be, such as the Justice Secretary and the Law Society, seem not
to be remotely interested in protecting the consumer, although, to be fair,
Longmore LJ has stated that ‘legal expenses insurers exhibit an insouciance to
their obligations under the Directive and the Regulations which leaves one
quite breathless..’Had it been possible to leave no stars, I would
have done so, as I have received zilch in return for my premium.
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