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Hi all,

 

I notice Caggers referring to "Home expenses insurance" "Legal expenses insurance" quite frequently on here, yet very seldom do I read of success stories or even information/ tactics on dealing with the home insurance people/ claims handlers. These lot can be just as tricky to deal with as dealing with the respondents in the ET cases. It seems that the home insurance people are very rarely willing to payout for legitimate claims without a fight! An quite rightly so they are running a business and not a charity!

 

Quick chronology:

 

Back in May 2011 after two previous unsuccessful attempts I managed to get my my ET claim accepted by my home insurance policy. Great £50k cover or so I thought, I was given a fixed amount of £1500 to cover my claim, not so great. Nowhere in the policy was this stated. Major gripe and let down, hey ho better than nought!

I ended up going with a terrible solicitor who completely was incompetent

 

May 2012- ET claim lost: negligent solicitor and general frustrations of the trials and tribulations.

 

June 2012- "Please, Legal expenses insurance people will you help with my subsequent request for review and appeal?" No was the response! I handled my appeal and review myself. Mainly with help from this forum!

 

Sept 2012- Turns out the pivotal piece of info needed to cement my case was withheld by the respondent and surprise surprise after the Subject access request this documentation came to light.

 

Dec 2012 onwards Respondents are still with-holding information with a forthcoming Oral hearing coming up. I imagine the ET senior judges, ET regional chairperson need to know about this?

 

I have sent the withheld document and reasons as to why my claim is still good to the Legal expenses insurance people thinking great now they can help with my case as it proves the respondents have not come to the ET with clean hands. Wrong after two previous unsuccessful attempts the LEI people are still refusing to take on my case and help (which I am in need of)

 

To make things worse the LEI people have a free legal helpline which I ring up. This advice line which provides free legal advice by trained/ and also qualified legal people. The whole time I call the free helpline I get great free, impartial advice similar to the forum and ever so encouraging when quoting the particulars of my case, yet, when I put my case forward and the info gleaned from the adviceline to the LEI, their panel barrister says the claim has no chance of success.

 

a) how can one branch of the organisation say my case has success (the free impartial advice line) then when it comes to the crunch the other department handling the actual claim (LEI) refuse to take on the case (Pay out for representation)

 

b) how come the LEI took on my case initially and now are refusing to give it a second look despite what the judgement says there is more evidence to forward my case. I realise they will do everthing to avoid paying out but why do I pay a premium for? Its for emergencies like this!!!

 

c) as soon as I put the claim with the negligent solicitor forward to the panel (LEI) immediately they took on the case yet they are refusing to re-open my ET case which now has greater prospects of success than before and which they initially took on.

 

d) It seems they are focusing on every negative thing that the judgement says and putting towards them not having to pay for my claim and then putting their heads in the sand when it comes to the need for re-addressing my case because of the respondent's non-compliance with a) the ET practice directions and b) the withholding of information

 

Any advice/ help people.

 

Looking to start the new year on a positive and hope the same to everyone on here who has been through the struggle.

 

Happy new years wishes

 

BB

Edited by billybobynumeroduo

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Yeah, I thought so.

 

It's not just your case - I've had a couple that we've had to turn away because of the ridiculously low fee cap they put on claims. Both were for unfair dismissal and both had a £1,500 cap. It costs us more like £10,000 to take a claim to hearing, so you can imagine the poor quality work you get for £1,500!!!

 

It beggars belief they can get away with it, and I suspect it could be unlawful, but until anyone challenges it through the courts it will continue for a while....

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Yeah, I thought so.

 

It's not just your case - I've had a couple that we've had to turn away because of the ridiculously low fee cap they put on claims. Both were for unfair dismissal and both had a £1,500 cap. It costs us more like £10,000 to take a claim to hearing, so you can imagine the poor quality work you get for £1,500!!!

 

It beggars belief they can get away with it, and I suspect it could be unlawful, but until anyone challenges it through the courts it will continue for a while....

 

 

Oh dear! I'm currently dealing with my home insurance and awaiting a response! Doesn't sound promising! They submit to an independent assessor which I believe is counsel.

My case has previously been assessed by our chosen counsel with very high prospect of success at ET.

It'll be interesting to see what the response is from my company! Hope I don't have a fight on my hands!!!

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Dear Kate,

 

many thanks for your post on this thread.

 

I would just like to confirm whom your home insurance is with (this is not necessarily relevant) but more importantly what level of funding you have been led to believe you will be receiving, should your case be successfully accepted having been assessed by counsel?

 

Best wishes and happy new year.

 

Billybob

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Dear Becky,

 

Many thanks for your response

 

Please can you elaborate on why you suggest that the £1500 cap could be unlawful?

 

I suspected that it was not treating the consumer fairly as after reading the home insurance policy, I was expecting to be fully funded for my case, "upto £50k" . Nowhere in the policy was it stated there was a cap of £1500.

 

below is an excerpt from the policy wording

 

"Personal Lawyer

Gives you £50,000 cover automatically with your policy. It pays

for costs towards legal expenses to pay for a wide range of

disputes. These include, subject to certain exclusions, disputes

over a purchase of privately owned goods or the purchase of

your home and even breach of an employment contract.

Cover is valid across the European Union and in many other

European countries."

 

look forwards to your response.

 

Warm regards and happy new year

 

BB

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There was an ECJ decision in 2009 in the case of Eschig v UNIQA Sachversicherung where the ECJ ruled that any provisions of a contract which detract from the freedom of an insured person to choose their own lawyer will not be compliant with the European Directive on LEI. Therefore, my opinion (and that of some other lawyers) is that imposing a low hourly rate or unrealistic fee cap means that you don't have freedom of choice, as clearly no good lawyer can work on such ridiculous rates.

 

It hasn't been tested yet though, to my knowledge. My boss mentioned it might be worth testing it ourselves by running a case and then suing the insurance company for the full value of the associated legal fees if we get a high profile case, but that hasn't happened yet so I don't have a definitive answer.

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That's useful info, Becky and congratulations on the German!

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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That's useful info, Becky and congratulations on the German!

 

HB

My insurance company deals with the above mentioned firm as mentioned by becky!

The limit is 50k. I'll be very disappointed if it's a 'no' or £1500!

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Hi Kate,

 

will you be using your own solicitor or Arc's designated firm of solicitors?

 

It will be interesting to see if they indeed offer you the 50k limit or cap you off at £1500.

 

Please keep us posted

 

Kregards

 

BB

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Hi Becky,

 

please can you clarify re Eschig v UNIQA Sachversicherung. It appears that this case is about the fact that clients are free to choose their own solicitor. This was the case for me and was not a problem going with my own solicitor.

 

However the fee cap of £1500 meant I had to go with a firm that was on a no-win no fee basis and the work was absolutely terrible.

 

Therefore in a way the low fee cap did limit my freedom of choice as I had to go with a substandard lawyer.

 

I am having trouble interpreting the case judgement but I would like to further understand it as I do indeed intend to challenge the low fee cap the LEI has imposed and furthermore refusing to support my case to appeal level.

 

Kregards

 

BB

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That's certainly my interpretation. But just remember that it's my legal opinion that things should develop in that way should the issue be legally challenged - I can't honestly say its solid law as yet. But it's been a year or so since I researched it and things could have changed since then.

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There was an interesting update on this last month. Whilst the Claimant lost the case in terms of arguing his personal freedom of choice was restricted and a full hourly rate shoudl be payable rather than the non-panel solicitor rates which were lower (yet still reasonable IMO), some interesting clarification on the law came up.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1633.html

 

The paragraph from the Judgment which interested me:

 

"...freedom of choice, within the terms of Article 4(1) of Directive 87/344, does not mean that Member States are obliged to require insurers, in all circumstances, to cover in full the costs incurred in connection with the defence of an insured person, irrespective of the place where the person professionally entitled to represent that person is established in relation to the court or administrative authority with jurisdiction to deal with a dispute, on condition that that freedom is not rendered meaningless. That would be the case if the restriction imposed on the payment of those costs were to render de facto impossible a reasonable choice of representative by the insured person. In any event, it is for the national courts, if an action is brought before them in this regard, to determine whether or not there is any such restriction."

 

To me, this implies that in this case, a reasonable hourly rate had been imposed to the non-panel solicitors of £125 per hour. However, this does indicate that there would be a good argument that a £1,500 fee cap is rendering it impossible for a reasonable choice of legal representative, mainly because it would only cover 10 hours of work, and Tribunal cases require significantly more than this...

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Hi Becky,

 

many thanks for this case this is helpful and I agree that the 1500 is pointless and seriously limits the insured as to how they can go about pursuing their cases. I still am struggling to find where in the policy it states the £1500 cap, I do believe that it is only once the case has been accepted by the underwriters that the insurers spring the £1500 clause out into the open. This is very misleading!

 

On a different note I have asked for the panel solicitor's at the LEI to review my case where my employers went about freely distributing my medical report amongst the members of my staff, against my wishes. Proof of this breach is documented!

 

The LEI has just responded to me:

 

"Our Solicitors advise that any issues with Data Protection fall outside the policy wording of Employment Disputes as it is not a claim arising out of your employment contract or employment rights. It is a right that everyone has to the data being protected by those that process it.

 

Sorry to advise that unfortunately as it does not fall within the policy wording and Employment Disputes we will be unable to accept the claim under the policy. Unfortunately there is no section of cover under the policy to cover a claim of this nature."

 

Now it is arguable (in my opinion) the claim, does, indeed fall under the breach of the employment contract, ie the breach of implied terms of the employment contract mutual trust and confidence.

 

Any thoughts here??

 

Failing that....it does state in the policy....we cover: "Interference with your rights under the Data Protection Act" therefore how can this not be covered.

 

It seems very strange that the LEI can continue refusing genuine claims despite the wording in their policies. I am wondering if they dont just make the rules up as they go along and have little use for their own policies!!!!

 

Any help please!!!!

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I do agree that a DPA claim doesn't fall within the employment law jurisdiction. But it is somewhat illogical for the policy to state it does cover DPA claims but then refuse cover. Are you trying to bring a separate claim for the DPA breach?

 

The only way you could use it for a breach of trust and confidence in employment law that I can see would be if you were bringing a constructive dismissal claim for the fact of the breach.... But I don't think that's what you're trying to do?

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Hi Becky,

 

yes I want to bring a claim for the DPA breach.

 

Re the breach of trust and confidence, in my employment tribunal in my ET1, I resigned due to being discriminated against because of my disability and the company failing to support me during my disability and sickness,.

 

However it has since come to light, therefore, the DPA breach was only discovered after resigning when all the paperwork for the ET bundle was collated. Therefore it is fair to say that this breach was another attempt to discriminate against me. This was brought up at the ET hearing and the judge stated that DPA breach is outside of jurisdiction.

 

However I would now like to bring a civil claim in the county court for this DPA breach and subsequent breach of employment contract plus the disability discrimination. So I find it odd that the LEI are still refusing!

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Did you suffer a quantifiable financial loss as a result of the breach? If not, then no claim, so on those grounds I could understand the claim being refused.

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Hi becky,

 

yes I was on £20k p/a and as a result of the breach I was out of work for a year, had to retrain and I am on half my previous salary now so that would be the quantifiable loss.

 

hope this makes sense

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What was the actual breach and how did it directly cause you a £20k annual loss?

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