Information for insured practitioners and firms about what is a claim and what is a circumstance may give rise to a claim, and when and how to notify LPLC about them.
LPLC’s professional indemnity insurance policy responds to claims made against a law practice. It also responds to circumstances notified to LPLC by a law practice.
Current and former practitioners and employees of the law practice and any prior law practice are insured under the policy.
Full details of cover are contained in the policy wording.
A claim is a demand for, or assertion of a right to, civil compensation or civil damages in connection with a law practice’s business of providing legal services. It also includes the intimation of an intention to seek civil compensation or civil damages.
Examples of a claim could include a writ, initiating application, letter of demand or other correspondence threatening a possible claim.
Claims against a law practice are usually made by clients of the practice but they can also be made by non-clients.
A circumstance is an incident, fact or matter which may or does give rise to a claim.
Any practitioner in doubt as to whether a circumstance should be notified to LPLC can phone and speak to a claims solicitor for assistance.
There is no penalty for notifying a circumstance to LPLC and it will not affect the law practice’s premium in any way.
Practitioners are required to immediately notify LPLC in writing upon becoming aware of any claim or circumstance.
Prompt notification has many benefits:
- LPLC’s experienced claims solicitors can provide independent and objective guidance to practitioners about risk exposures.
- Any conflict between the interests of the client and the law practice can be identified and addressed.
- If required, LPLC can arrange for legal advice to be obtained from one of LPLC’s external panel solicitors or counsel.
- If the claim is without merit, reassurance and support can be provided to ease any stress or anxiety.
- If there is a risk of liability for the claim, further steps can be taken to investigate the matter and pro-actively minimise the resulting loss or damage.
LPLC’s Notification Form can be:
- completed and lodged online, or
- download the fillable PDF, complete, save and email to LPLC at: [email protected]
Attach any supporting documents detailing the claim made.
The Notification Form must be completed by or on behalf of the law practice or by a person insured under the policy.
Separate notification to top-up insurers needs to be made by the law practice in accordance with the terms of the top-up policy.
Notification of claims and circumstances to LPLC does not constitute a notification under a top-up insurance policy held by the law practice.
Key obligations of a law practice are as follows:
- to immediately notify LPLC in writing of any claim or circumstance
- to provide all information reasonably required by LPLC in relation to a claim
- to assist and co-operate with LPLC in the management of a claim
- not to admit liability or settle any claim for which LPLC is obliged to indemnify the law practice without LPLC’s prior consent
- to pay the applicable policy excess in relation to a claim if and when it becomes due
All claims and notifications are managed by LPLC’s experienced in-house Claims Solicitors.
Specialist legal advice and the defence of litigated claims is provided by external panel solicitors and counsel as and when required.
LPLC’s aim is to identify the issues in dispute, the underlying cause(s) of the problem, and to reach a fair, prompt and cost-effective resolution of the matter.
Where it is appropriate to do so, claims will be defended.
Where matters should be settled, LPLC will endeavour to do so on reasonable terms and encourages insured law practices to adopt the same approach.
Persons wishing to make a claim (‘claimant’) against a legal practitioner are encouraged to consult an independent lawyer for advice in relation to the claim.
Generally speaking, a claimant should direct their claim to the law practice or practitioner concerned, not to LPLC.
As LPLC is the insurer for legal practitioners, we cannot advise claimants whether to make a claim, what to claim, or on the settlement of a claim.
Some information about LPLC’s claims process is provided above.