By: 28 October 2013

Anthony Hughes, CEO of Horwich Farrelly and a former President of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL), has expressed concern that the Government's plans to challenge false compensation claims for whiplash are an exercise in "style over substance".


Commenting on the Government's response to both its own consultation on whiplash claims and the report by the Transport Select Committee into the matter, Hughes accused the Ministry of Justice of coming up with proposals such as the setting up of independent medical panels that had a distinct lack of detail.


"My overriding concern is whether this is simply style over substance […] and nothing more than a series of attempts to grab headlines,” he said.


Hughes was also critical of the way the report described how cases are dealt with by insurers and potential problems with firms dealing with claims management companies (CMC).


“To my amazement insurers are said to have developed ‘a culture of not challenging these cases’ and that is certainly not my experience," he said.


"We take hundreds of cases to court, and win them every year, raising precisely these types of arguments.


He said the suggestion that there is a problem in maintaining robust identity checks when a claimant lawyer has a relationship with a CMC in a different area or region, was "nonsense".


"Claimant's identities are routinely checked at the time that they are examined by any reputable expert, many of whom also include a photograph in the report.


"Surely they are not suggesting lawyers regress to a cottage industry while the rest of the world globalises? The Government seem to be totally missing the point.”


Horwich Farrelly has also boosted its trainee numbers to 30 after awarding 17 training contracts.


The new trainees will all be based at the Manchester headquarters and will undergo a rigorous and comprehensive training programme within the firm.