If you are a barrister, mediator or costs draftsman in RTA/PI – joining MASS would be an excellent way to network and engage with like-minded professionals, all committed to help the road accident victim.
Tim Meakin from 7BR Chambers (who was our very first Associate!) shares why he values his association with MASS.
How did you first hear about MASS?
I heard about MASS through a solicitor colleague from Tollers Solicitors in Northampton. He indicated that MASS was an organisation that represented the interests of those injured in vehicle accidents and invited me to a regional meeting. I went along and was very impressed and so I joined.
What attracted you to joining MASS?
I undertake work on behalf of claimants injured in road traffic accidents. MASS represented a good opportunity to meet similar personal injury practitioners and also to be part of a campaigning organisation that has sound objectives. Particularly representing those injured in road traffic accidents who would otherwise not have a voice in the rapidly evolving changes in the law.
What are the most valuable benefits you get from being an Associate?
As a barrister I am presently permitted to be an associate member of MASS, but in practice I have the same benefits as any other full member. There is a very helpful and informative publication and website that keeps me up to date with the incessant changes in the law and it gives me an opportunity to discuss with colleagues new ideas, cases and generally bemoan the state of the law.
How was your first MASS conference?
I was very impressed with the conference. Having been to many conferences, I have noted the tendency to be “light” on the legal issues, but this is not the case with MASS. All the speakers addressed relevant legal issues to RTA work and moreover to a challenging level which dented my ignorance. Secondly, MASS does not stretch out the conference unnecessarily; it is compact and focused on issues relevant to everyday practice. Thirdly, the delegates who attended were a friendly and engaging bunch, and so the social aspects were really enjoyable. Therefore, if there is a choice to be made between a wide range of conferences then the MASS conference should be right up there.
How do you think MASS benefits from opening its doors to barristers and costs draughtsman?
This will enable a valuable exchange of views and ideas. Barristers will particularly benefit from having a clearer idea of what it is like to practise at the “coal face” of RTA personal injury law, particularly on costs, and generally on running cases efficiently. Barristers can provide valuable input on the tactical advantages of running these types of cases at trial and in mediations, particularly to promote a beneficial level of coordination between the Bar and solicitors that can only be an advantage for the clients. Therefore I would advise barristers to join this organisation and provide additional expertise.
What do you think are the challenges for MASS and its members in the future?
Generally lawyers representing the victims of road traffic accidents are seemingly berated from all sides, whether it be government, the judiciary, or the insurance industry. There is a need to stand up for the interests of those claimants particularly as the vast majority of claimants are honest and reasonable people who have suffered an adverse life event. They therefore deserve to have access to a legal system that respects their needs and views. On a more practical front, the enactment of the Civil Liability Act 2018 with its whiplash reforms (and the likely associated increase in the small claims limit) means that many claimants face a confederacy of challenges potentially resulting in under-representation and under-compensation on a new tariff system. This is particularly so in relation to those claims that include the presently undefined “psychological injury”. MASS should continue to campaign to maintain advice and representation for this class of claimants.
What advice would you give members in dealing with those challenges?
As a barrister the conventional expectation is to use Latin maxims and so in order to not to disappoint my advice is, “Dum spiro spero” (while I breathe I hope).
For information on Tim and our other Associate Members click here.
Interested in becoming a MASS Associate Member?
You can find details of the criteria and joining process here.
Any questions? You can email us or ring us on 0117 925 9613 for more information on how to become an Associate Member.
This article also feature in the MASS Insight Magazine Issue 23.