Deafness claims could decrease after Lord Justice Jackson calls for fixed claims costs

This week’s confirmation from Lord Justice Jackson that recommendations from the Civil Justice Council working party on NIHL claims will include the introduction of fixed costs, could lead to a major decrease in deafness-related claims, says leading occupational health lawyer.

DWF partner Ian Macalister says the reduction in the number of deafness claim notifications was inevitable as LASPO takes hold. “Since 1April 2013, claimant solicitors have not been able to recover from defendants and their insurers any success fees and ATE premiums in respect of retainers entered into with their clients after that date. While claimant solicitors can and do charge successful claimants a success fee paid from damages, this is capped at 25% and damages are generally pretty modest in any event”.

He added that claimant’s solicitors’ practices that have “relied on this work stream are revising their business model where possible and becoming more discerning in the cases which they progress.” He believes some firms are “clearly feeling the pinch” with rumours of “salary freezes across the industry”.

Longer term analysis of volumes is difficult to judge. “However there was a clear ‘bounce’ effect from 2013 onwards after claimant solicitors had raced to sign claimants up in the period before 1 April 2013. Even as late as last autumn, our clients were reporting seeing pre-LASPO claims within their new notifications.

“A further complication may also be that it is reported HMRC are taking more than 12 months in certain instances to issue claimant solicitors with employment schedules required in order to present the claims in the first place.  This will delay the presentation of claims and further skew the data,” Macalister added.

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Ian Macalister


I have a special interest and expertise in employer's liability and occupational disease claims. I lead a team of 50 fee earners acting for composite insurers, as well as self-insured undertakings.