Legal Expenses Insurance

In this section:

  • Do you have Legal Expenses Insurance?
    Read below or Download PDF  (56kb)
  • Can Harris & Harris act for you if you have Legal Expenses Insurance?
    Read below or Download PDF  (65kb)

Do you have Legal Expenses Insurance ?

Harris & Harris will advise you on the best way of funding of any court case. We need your help to enable us to consider all your options. You may have Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) cover – also known as “Before The Event” (BTE) insurance – but not be aware of it.  Sometimes it is attached to other insurance policies.  Sometimes it is hard to see if you would be covered for the particular problem.

Please bring to our first meeting the original Policy and all Schedules for any of the following, even if you don’t think they provide cover.

  • Any Legal Expenses Insurance policy held by you and/or your spouse, partner or parents living in the same household.
  • Any other insurance policy that may include Legal Expenses Insurance held by you and/or any spouse, partner or parents living in the same household.
    Examples include:-

    • Property Insurance
    • Household Contents Insurance
    • Benefits attached to Credit Cards
    • Insurance taken out for any equipment you were using at the time of the accident, (e.g. if you have insured your bicycle separately)
    • Membership Details for any club or organisation connected with what you were doing at the time of the accident, (e.g., cycling club, either local or national)
  • The motor insurance policy, if the accident involved a vehicle.  If you are a passenger or pedestrian intending to make a claim against the driver of a vehicle who is a member of your household please ask them for a copy of their policy and schedule . If they cannot give you that please bring in the details of their policy (name and address of insurers, policyholders name, and policy number).
  • If you are a member of a Trades Union or other similar organisation please check with them in advance whether they will help. If in doubt bring in any documents that may be relevant and we will check them for you.

If it is relevant we will advise you about After the Event Legal Expenses Insurance when we advise you about your case.
We have a professional obligation to investigate whether you have cover.  If you do not bring in these documents we will not be able to comply with our professional duties and that may delay your case.

If in doubt bring it in, or give us a call before you come in.

Download PDF  (56kb)

Can Harris & Harris act for you if you have Legal Expenses Insurance ?

In many cases the answer is “Yes”.  Legal Expenses Insurers will normally try to refer you to a firm on their panel.  You don’t have to accept that.  The Financial Ombudsman says that this is one of the most common complaints about legal expenses insurance.  He says “Policyholders take the view that only someone they have chosen will represent their interests vigorously and impartially. In many cases, they are unsure whether a solicitor chosen by the insurer will represent their interests, or the insurer’s.  And they frequently complain that the firm of solicitors chosen by the insurer is in a less convenient location than their preferred firm”.

Under the Regulation 6(1) Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990 you have the right to choose your own lawyer once legal proceedings are started.  That is an absolute right at that point.  In practice your Legal Expenses Insurers may agree that Harris & Harris can act for you from the start.  Their proper concerns are that the lawyers you use have the necessary expertise and that their fees are reasonable.  Harris & Harris would not take on your case if we did not have the necessary expertise and our charging rates costs are competitive.  We can usually persuade Legal Expenses Insurers to instruct us, if that is what you want and you tell your insurers.  If you bring all your paperwork and a Claim Form to us we will deal with it for you.

As the Financial Ombudsman says “Where policyholders have paid for legal advice before notifying the insurer of a claim, they will not unnaturally wish that same firm to continue with their case. However, their insurer may prefer that a solicitor from its own panel takes over the action. We do not always support insurers in this position. This is for two reasons. First, the current firm will already be familiar with progress to date and appointing a new firm will require duplication of effort and expense. Second, the replacement of the original firm may only be temporary, since it is highly likely the policyholder will insist on returning the case to them as soon as possible. We consider that insurers should take a pragmatic approach. Where one firm is already familiar with all the background and is dealing satisfactorily with the case, it will generally not be sensible for the insurer to involve another firm unless, for example, the new firm has superior expertise. Otherwise, insurers risk alienating their policyholders to little or no advantage”.

See the Financial Ombudsman’s website at

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