How can Legal Expenses Insurance fund my case?
You may find that you have legal expenses insurance for employment advice included in your home or other insurance. If you have a problem at work or think that one may arise it is worth digging out your insurance policy and checking if you have cover.
For those who do have insurance it is normal practice for the insurance provider to place pressure on you to receive advice from their panel advisers. However for many people this is not convenient for them, and they may have already built a good relationship with a Solicitor. As a result a question has arisen as to whether the practice of the insurers to force you to use their own advisers is lawful or not.
In a recent case decided by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) called Sneller -v- DAS the CJEU decided that Mr Sneller had the right to use his own legal advisor.
The legal insurer, DAS, had a contract with Mr Sneller which stated that whilst he had the freedom to choose his own advisor, this was only if DAS decided that the case should be dealt with by an external advisor rather than its own staff.
Mr Sneller wanted to pursue a claim for unfair dismissal and DAS stated that they preferred to keep his advice in house.
The CJEU decided that DAS’ restriction was too restrictive and Mr Sneller’s freedom of choice should not be dependent upon the insurer’s view of the case.
The result of this decision is that if you have legal expenses insurance you are able to stipulate which legal advisor you want to use.
You should however note that your insurer may not necessarily cover all of your legal expenses, for example if their panel advisor rate is £100 per hour and your own advisor is £180 per hour then you would have to pay the difference to your advisor.
If you instruct me to assist you with your claim and you have insurance I guarantee that you will not have to pay any difference in the hourly rates. I will also liaise with your insurer, at no additional cost to you.