Thursday, 8 August 2013

Another PPI scandal

Mr and Mrs Harrison had a PPI claim against Black Horse Limited. It was relatively big, as PPI claims go (the cost of the PPI to them was £10,529.70) but not what you might call a big money claim. They lost the claim in the County Court and the High Court (see judgment here) and again in the Court of Appeal (judgment here). For whatever reason, the Bank folded before the claim reached the Supreme Court, and paid Mr and Mrs Harrison the £10,000-odd pounds they wanted (and no doubt some interest as well).

Mr and Mrs Harrison's lawyers are now claiming over £1,500,000 in costs for handling this £10,000 claim. This does not seem to have surprised the Cost Judge hearing the claim.

It seems to me that there is no rational, sensible or efficient system of civil justice which could permit over £1.5m to be spent on just one of the two sides to a dispute over £10,000. When you read about the sums put aside by banks to deal with PPI mis-selling, pause to consider how much of that will go to the lawyers and how much to the borrowers - and consider also whether this massive redistribution of wealth from publicly-owned banks to claimant law firms has encouraged socially useful entrepreneurial activity in the parts of the north-west where these law firms operate. People respond to incentives: these incentives are all wrong.

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