The court was asked as to the requirement for a client to be given free choice of a lawyer in the context of legal expenses insurance. The various claimants insured by the defendants had sought to instruct solicitors not on the respondent’s approved panel, but had then been refused indemnity.
Held: The court declared that the defendant insurers were obliged to pay the appropriate non-panel rates to their insureds but no more.
Longmore LJ said: ‘The facts of this case have revealed that the insurers exhibit an insouciance to their obligations under the Directive and the Regulations which leaves one quite breathless.’ However: ‘if one has regard solely to the terms of the policy of insurance, the insureds are entitled to recover the non-panel rate set out in the standard terms and conditions and no more; they are, however, entitled to recover at least those rates. If that means that they have to pay more to their chosen solicitors and arrange some other way to make such payment, that will then be their decision.’ and ‘insurers can seek to limit the costs for which they are liable to the insured provided that the freedom of choice guaranteed by the Directive: ‘is not rendered meaningless . . A court determining whether the remuneration offered by the insurance policy is so insufficient as to render the insured’s freedom of choice meaningless would have to have evidence of such insufficiency before it could avoid or strike down any provision in an insurance contract relating to the level of costs and expenses payable in respect of a solicitor’s services. In this case the evidence is meagre in the extreme.’
Longmore, Lloyd, McFarlane LJJ
 1 Costs LR 1,  2 CMLR 20,  CP Rep 13,  WLR(D) 377,  1 WLR 1740,  EWCA Civ 1633
Council Directive 87/344 EEC 4, Insurance Directive 2009/108/EC 198, Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990
England and Wales
Cited – Pittalis v Grant CA 1989
A point was raised for the first time on appeal.
Held: Though an appellate court could exclude a pure question of law which had not been raised at first instance from being raised on appeal, the usual practice was to allow it to be taken where . .
Cited – Gebhard Stark v DAS Osterreichische Allgemeine Rechtsschutzversicherung AG ECJ 26-May-2011
ECJ Legal expenses insurance – Directive 87/344/EEC – Article 4(1) – Freedom of the insured person to choose his lawyer – Limitation of the reimbursement allowed in respect of the costs relating to representation . .
Cited – Eschig v UNIQA Sachversicherung AG ECJ 14-May-2009
ECJ Legal expenses insurance Directive 87/344/EEC Article 4(1) Right of insured persons to choose their own lawyer Contractual limitation Multiple insured persons suffering loss as a result of the same event . .
Appeal from – Brown-Quinn and Another v Equity Syndicate Management Ltd and Another ComC 21-Oct-2011
The court heard sample claims as to the effectiveness of BTE legal expenses insurance policies. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
European, Legal Professions, Costs
Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.467058