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How British Government might finally soften Irish lawyers cough

All the commentators concurred that the score was Lawyers United 1, Entire Arsenal of Irish Government 0. Not even the threats of the Troika could make our Government crack-down on the outrageous practices and costs of the Irish legal system that costs businesses and citizens so much and our match weary politicians walked off the pitch, beaten by the legal lobbyists.

So with great pleasure we read that the British Chancellor, George Osborne, may well still line out for Team Ireland, and play his part as a latter day Roy of the Rovers. On Wednesday Mr. Osborne scored a terrific goal against those lawyers in Britain who encourage, with all their guile, people to make dodgy personal injury claims. In his Autumn Statement he said that cash payments for minor whiplash claims will be banned under new plans to put an end to the dodgy claims industry that costs insurers, a move that could save the British public up to €70 a year on their car insurance.

In future, claimants who say they are suffering from whiplash after minor car bumps and scrapes will be offered physiotherapy and treatment by their insurers. Quoted in the @Telegraph Axa’s UK boss, Paul Evans, said that much of the insurance payouts from these fake claims “goes straight to lawyers and it is a merry-go-round that we have been trying to stop for a long time.”

And according to @thetimesIE the effect was immediate. It wrote, “The ripples from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement continue to spread…Slater & Gordon, an Australian law firm that has almost 4,000 staff in this country (the UK) handling such claims, lost half its market worth in Sydney as a consequence.”

Ironically this happened just as a husband and wife team were making a court appearance in Ireland for staging a car crash, for which each of them claimed €15,000 compensation. They told the Gardaí they didn’t know each other. Facebook told another story – they are a couple and then they belatedly told the court they were going to use the money for a wedding. As well as nuptials they both got a conviction for their troubles.

ISME members have been crucified by false claims against their businesses for years. We hope now that some of our politicians, who play for Justice United, will learn from this imaginative move by the British Government and have a similar provision adopted by the Dáil.  Politics is a league and not a cup tie. The lawyers may have thought that they had won the cup when they faced down our Government but, by introducing this measure, it will be a league win for Citizen Sean – little by little is how you win the league.