My insurance company tell me I have to use one of their panel solicitors, do I have to?
No. Some insurers state that you have to use one of their panel solicitors and that it is a requirement of their policy for you to do so, in order to be covered. This is incorrect, under Regulation 6 of the Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990 you have the right to choose the solicitor you wish to instruct to represent you in respect of any legal proceedings including Court proceedings. As such, the Insurer does not have to agree to the solicitor you wish to appoint. This includes solicitors who are instructed prior to the commencement of Court proceedings. Insurers have been known to argue that this entitlement does not include legal costs incurred prior to the commencement of Court proceedings, in other words you have to appoint one of their panel solicitors to act on your behalf prior to the commencement of Court proceedings and thereafter you can choose to instruct whichever solicitor you choose. This is incorrect.
Often insurers are impartial as to which solicitor is to be appointed as a result of referral fees, etc. As such it is important that you are confident and happy with the service provided by the solicitor who represents you. If this is the solicitor nominated by your insurer that is great but if not, you are entitled to choose whichever solicitor you prefer regardless.
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