May 11th, 2007

You Can Always Trust a Solicitor

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

Solicitors don’t usually have a very high level of respect amongst most police officers. Tales of defence solicitors using every trick in the book to get guilty people off & poor quality prosecution solicitors failing to secure convictions are as old and abundant as the hills (in the Lake District, not Lincolnshire, obviously).

Not one who easily passes up the opportunity to have a pop at a solicitor, I bring you this story which featured in the national press and various websites last week;

Jim Beresford runs a firm of solicitors in the Doncaster area. Just 4 years ago Beresford was a ‘small town lawyer’ working out of an office in Doncaster. Today he has a £1.8million private jet, 2 Aston martins, a Ferrari & several racehorses. Last year he took home nearly £17million & operates from a plush 38,000 sq ft office complex & employs 200 staff.

What happened in the last four years to rocket this man to his current wealth? He hit gold when his company took advantage of a government scheme to compensate miners for ill health suffered as a result of poor working conditions over many years.

Basically, a solicitor acting on behalf of a miner to claim compensation from a fund of £7.5billion set aside by the government, gets paid a set fee of £2000, by the government, for what often amounts to little more than filling in a few forms.

It is alleged by the Daily Mail, among others, that Beresford’s firm also creamed off fees and various ‘expenses’ from the compensation amount over and above their £2000.

It is alleged that many miners were encouraged to take out insurance should their compensation claims fail and the DTI sought to recover legal expenses in defending the claims. In order to fund the insurance, miners were encouraged to take out loans for which Beresford earned commission. The DTI claims that it does not claim costs back from failed claimants so the insurance, and thus the loans were a complete waste of money.

One miner signed with Beresford was hoping to seek compensation to fund a digital hearing aid which costs £2000. Beresford opened an account for the claimant with the Bank of Scotland, they then debited this account with charges for £358 for ‘case investigation’ £171 referral fee when Beresford passed the case on to another firm, £1,522 insurance premium, £120 disbursements, £320 unidentified costs, £672 interest. Then there was a £400 cost of a hearing loss medial arranged by a company called Melox Ltd, 90% of which is owned by Beresford’s wife.

In December 2005 the miner was awarded £3,750 compensation but by this time his costs amounted to £3,591 which left him just £158 to fund his £2000 hearing aid.

Beresford’s firm represented between 58,000 & 90,000 (depending on which report you read), That’s an awful lot of Two grands & other ‘expenses’.
17 miners represented by the company were finally awarded between 1p & 99p, 65 between £1 & £2, 81 between £3 & £4, 68 between £5 & £6.

Beresford is described as the country’s richest solicitor, he & several other solicitors’ firms are currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

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2 comments

  1. Angie wrad says:

    Dear Sir,

    Re. No Win No Fee

    Lawyers are using the financial meltdown of the economy to line their own pockets and are alarmingly now using the No Win No Fee system in bankruptcy cases. Effectively leaving no money for creditors Solicitors extortionate fees will gobble up any surplus. Irwin Mitchell are guilty of this act so come on Mr. Straw do not allow them the time and space to rape and pillage like they did with the compensation allocated for the poor miners. Please act now before its too late.

    Irwin Mitchell solicitors have teamed up with Begbies Traynor a large insolvency firm and work on a No Win No Fee basis on liquidations and bankruptcies allowing Irwin Mitchell to charge obscene fees and effectively prevent annulment or dividend payout to creditors. This is undermining the economic recovery by not allowing bankrupts to annul and continue to trade or for creditors to obtain a dividend. The situation is appalling. Begbies Traynor can afford legal representation but now no longer have to pay this so this an affront and an abuse of the system. I feel it compulsory and the media have a social responsibility please highlight the situation to prevent the abuse from snowballing and bringing increased misery to people trapped by the credit crunch.

    The Government had provided millions in compensation to miners who suffered appalling injuries and related illnesses but who took the lions share. Lawyers that’s who! This must be prevented from happening again.

    Irwin Mitchell and Beresfords lined their own pockets at the miners expense to such an extent that Jim Beresford has his own jet and stately home home and a fleet of luxury cars while former miners are still suffering and still live on the breadline. Come on Mr. Straw very little was implemented then this maybe an even bigger scandal if allowed to manifest.

    Speak to Chris Jones a partner in the Leeds office of Irwin Mitchell or Steven Williams of the Preston office of Begbies Traynor and ask the question. Whether you will obtain the truth from these charlatans is another matter.

    If you require an example of an Irwin Mitchell cost schedule to prove my point please contact me.

    Yours sincerely

    Angie Ward

    September 22nd, 2008 at 13:14

  2. Find a solicitor says:

    Wow i find this amazing to think that Solicitors can get away with this? the poor people who suffered in those mines are left with nothing to show. They could do with watching the film Erin Brochvich to see how things like this can affect not just the miners life but the family of the miners also.

    I must say though not all solicitors act in this way, and have the interests of the person at heart, but what i have just read does make you think.

    Great post thank you for sharing.

    Gavin Moore

    October 3rd, 2010 at 02:42

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