Van McKellar | Partner

The Importance of Legal Expenses Insurance

Taking out Legal Expenses Insurance can often represent the optimal way of ensuring the best and most cost effective legal representation should you need it. It is usually sold as a bolt-on to home insurance.

It will generally cover the costs of a range of potentially bank busting court disputes matters including defending a driving offence, pursuing a personal injury action, resolving an employment dispute as well as consumer and commercial contract disputes.

It is probably quite easy to convince yourself that the chances of being caught up in a court battle are too remote to justify the additional cost of legal expense insurance. The truth is anyone can, for example, inadvertently cross paths with a rogue trader or find themselves being unfairly treated at work and the small cost of the annual premium is paid so many times over in the savings on legal and other fees and the reassurance about any possible award of adverse costs. Cover for expert fees can be important as in many cases a successful claim will be reliant on supportive expert evidence working alongside expert legal advices.

What Happens if You Have Legal Expenses Insurance?

If you have Legal Expenses Insurance in place and find yourself in a position where you are at the receiving end of something to which your legal expenses insurance applies, be it criminal or civil, your case will usually be directed towards a panel firm such as Jackson Boyd. Jackson Boyd have been on the panel of many leading legal expenses insurers for a number of years and have experienced Solicitors ready and able to deal with a plethora of different and complex legal matters.

What Happens if You Don’t Have Legal Expenses Insurance?

If you don’t have legal expense insurance and find yourself in a legal situation but don’t have cover, you generally will find yourself with two options;

  1. You have to fund the action out of your own pocket and hope that you can recover some (but not all) of your fees and costs from any award of expenses made should you be successful. Court action has the potential to involve you in having to make payments to lawyers and experts of many thousands of pounds to represent your interests and that not covering your potential exposure to your opponent’s expenses should you lose. (As stated, if you have legal expenses insurance, adverse costs such as your opponent’s expenses are generally covered as part of your policy cover.) Contact us, if you find yourself without legal expenses insurance and we can discuss the funding options available to you.
  2. You might be eligible for legal aid. This is means and merits tested so there is no guarantee your application will be successful. Increasingly eligibility is limited and fewer solicitors are prepared to do legal aid work. Even if your application is granted, you may discover that funding for experts (which can quite often play a major role in advancing your position) is restricted.

Consequently for what is usually a small additional monthly payment to your home or car insurance, you can secure the best legal representation and cover for when you might need it.

Van McKellar

Van McKellar

Dispute Resolution Team

“I see my role as a problem solver – seeking to understand the factual basis of my clients’ disputes and applying a legal and commercial analysis in seeking to resolve them, whether by negotiation or by means of litigation or some other alternative means of dispute resolution.”

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