Instructing your own solicitor (and getting your insurer to pay for it)

Instructing your own solicitor (and getting your insurer to pay for it).

There is an obscure and not well known piece of Law which gives people the right to have a say in which Solicitor carries out work for them – even when it is the person’s insurance company that is paying for that legal work. The piece of Law, for those who are interested, is the Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990.

What those regulations say is that an insurance company must afford the policy holder the right to “entrust the defence of his interests” to a Lawyer of his or her choice. There are a few exceptions and limitations to the rule but, in the main, for most categories of rights, a policy holder should not feel pressured to accept legal advice from a Solicitor of the insurance company’s choosing.

This is, perhaps, particularly important for clients living a long distance away from where their insurance company’s solicitor is based. Also, clients who value a more personal service or face-to-face meetings with their Solicitor can benefit from these regulations.
If you have an insurance policy which gives you the benefit of legal expenses insurance (this normally means that the insurance company would protect you from the cost of the legal advice you need) you should either ask your insurer directly to confirm that they are happy for your to instruct your own Solicitor or just contact your Solicitor. Many Solicitors (myself included) will be quite happy to approach your insurance company directly if they think there is the prospect of some work for them.

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