Why MASS (past Chair & Management Committee member)?
Even before qualifying in 2002, I attended MASS Conferences and I was so impressed with the work MASS had done on behalf of innocent injured Claimants. The opportunity to network, share ideas and issues with colleagues from other firms and to learn from colleagues who I respected was and still is invaluable.
Janet Tilley, my former Managing Partner, was Chair of MASS in the early 2000’s and I wished to one day follow in her footsteps. I was thoroughly motivated and joined the MASS Management Committee in 2012 and it became immediately apparent the invaluable work MASS does.
It was an honour and privilege to be asked to be the MASS Chairman even though during my initial address there was a flurry of activity, with people checking their emails and it became quite clear that the Government were to publish their consultation on “whiplash” the very next day.
Why the law?
I was unsure of which degree to do at University and therefore I decided to do a law degree as this would give me many options. During the second year, I was thoroughly enjoying it and decided to pursue a career in the law. I have now been in the profession for over 20 years and I enjoy every day (well mostly).
Best win in Court/most important win to date
Every win is important whether it ranges from a recent settlement of £2.4m in an amputation case to a relatively modest claim. Each are important to the individual, and are therefore important to me.
I always remember a case where a young lady doing her A-levels stepped out from behind a bus and into the path of a car. Six firms of solicitors rejected the case due to there being no prospects of success. I decided to take on the case and we ultimately achieved settlement in the sum of £50,000.00. That money paid for the lady to go through University, and to start her career, she still keeps in contact to advise myself how she is doing. The ability to make a real difference is so satisfying.
Thoughts on the implications of the Civil Liability Act
The Civil Liability Bill received Royal Assent and completed the Parliamentary process on the 20th December 2018 becoming the Civil Liability Act 2018. This has now set in motion the processes to bring into force the reforms within the Act. Only part of the Act has come into force straight away and there are aspects of the reforms that are yet to be finalised.
There is much that we still don’t know about how the Act and related reforms will be implemented. My real concern is that the unintended consequence that MASS have been so vocal about from the start, will come to fruition:
- A substantial increase in the number of Litigants in Person
- A sub-standard portal
- Reduction in access to justice and equality of arms for genuine injured Claimants
- Complexity and costs of the claims process for LIPS
- Rise in under-settlement
- Adverse impact on vulnerable groups
- Loss of legal advice
- Burden on the already overstretched court system
- Significant injuries will face a dramatic fall in compensation levels
- Unsuitability of the small claims court
- Increased number of claims driven by CMCs
- An increase in fraud
- Solicitors firms provide a filtering process which will be lost on the lower value claims
- Substantial cost to public finances
- Enhanced role for McKenzie friends
What 3 items would you take to a desert island?
A solar powered TV with a full Sky Sports package, a lifetime supply of lager and my daughters.
What’s your claim to fame?
I don’t really have one, although I was a model in magazines in my 20’s which I combined with the LPC and Training Contract.
What’s the best and worst piece of advice you have ever received?
Best – to get on the property ladder as soon as you feasibly can.
Worst – to get married. Those that know me will know why.
What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years?
Are Aston Villa Premier League Champions and Champions of Europe?
Best ever holiday or place you have visited?
A few, I love the USA, so I would say San Francisco, Vegas and New York. All different, but unique in their own way.
A silver MGTF with a blue roof, I loved that car.
I have an eclectic taste in music ranging from House to 70s, 80s, 90s and indie/rock music.
My favourite author is David Baldacci so most books written by him.
Best TV boxset or movie?
A bit cliché, but I would go for Shawshank Redemption for a movie and Game of Thrones for a boxset.
Lager or vodka but I like most including a few shots of Sambuca to end a big evening.
What is the first thing you like to do with your free time?
Watch sport, primarily football.
What annoys you?
Generally I am laid back, but waiting at a bar to be served is probably the most annoying especially when they serve someone who arrived after you.
Thoughts on Brexit?
It real is a mess isn’t it. Hopefully, it will finally be sorted in a way which is best for the future generations.
Simon is Partner and Head of Road Traffic Accidents – Technical at Simpson Millar, Manchester.
He specialises in complex and high value personal injury claims.
This article first appeared in MASS Insight Magazine, Summer 2019.