In some cases, the legal costs of taking a matter to court are covered under the terms of a policy of insurance eg: household, commercial, motor, travel, landlord’s property etc. The cover is taken out before the incident giving rise to the claim – hence it is termed ‘Before The Event’ (BTE) insurance. Insurers often try to restrict the policyholder’s choice of solicitor either by reference to a ‘panel’ of solicitors or by reference to prescribed maximum fee rates.
This issue came before the High Court recently in three cases heard by Mr Justice Burton. The decision brings a welcome victory for the insured. It confirmed that the insured has freedom to choose his own solicitor and it also examined in some detail the basis on which the reasonable costs of representation would be assessed.