The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) have agreed on a set of standard practices to help injured claimants and defendants during the disruption of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Their newly struck agreement stresses the importance of efficient communications. Other measures include accepting service and evidence by email, and agreeing to use some form of video conferencing for medical examinations when appropriate.
Both parties will face challenges complying with existing court directions and timetables, but there is now case law to support extensions of up to 56 days with consent. APIL and FOIL recommends that practitioners are minded to consent to requests for extensions. They also ask that, where possible, parties exchange their costs budgets.
“These are unprecedented times and both APIL and FOIL want to ensure that cases run smoothly across the UK so far as possible,” said APIL president Gordon Dalyell. “Our members told us their concerns about remote working and how they might adapt to the new way in which the courts are operating. Defendants are also going to have their own difficulties. Both organisations feel it is important to do what they can to help to resolve these issues together.”
Dalyell added: “This is not the first time APIL and FOIL have supported a collaborative approach, not least through the Serious Injury Guide, and we urge that members consider and adopt these best practices where possible.”
Anthony Baker, president of FOIL, continued: “The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted injured parties, insurers, FOIL members, and the claimant legal sector. However, during such difficult times it is testament to the collaborative nature of both sides of the industry that FOIL and APIL can work closely together to agree a best practice guidance document.”
“Following this joint guidance where possible will be of benefit to all and hopefully ensure that we can navigate these choppy waters with understanding and cooperation at the forefront of what we do.”