HC Deb 03 August 1966 vol 733 cc464-5
40. Mr. Thorpe

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware of the practice in which firms describing themselves as industrial accident consultants write to the injured or next-of-kin concerned in road accidents offering their services in connection with making claims for compensation, on the understanding that nothing will be payable unless the claim succeeds, but that the charges will not exceed one-tenth of any amounts recovered; and if he will introduce legislation to prevent persons profiting from the misfortunes of others in this matter.

The Attorney-General

I am aware of concern that is felt about the practice to which the hon. Member refers, particularly as legal advice and representation is now readily available to those without adequate means. However, I do not think that legislation would be appropriate.

Mr. Thorpe

Is the Attorney-General aware that, within two days of two constituents being killed in a car smash, a duplicated letter from a firm known as the Road and General Assessors, Limited, of 59, Swinton Street, London, reached the next-of-kin offering its services to sue all and sundry at no charge if nothing was recovered and up to 10 per cent. of whatever was recovered in the event of success? Is not this an outrageous case of touting for private profit by battening on the grief of the next-of-kin, and, if there is not a case of champerty or barratry here, is there not at least a case for some form of Government intervention?

The Attorney-General

I share the indignation expressed by the hon. Gentleman. The Law Commission is considering as part of its first programme the law of maintenance, and has been asked to consider whether ambulance-chasing is relevant to its consideration.