In two recent judgments, the European Court ruled that insurers will now have to reimburse the costs for external lawyers for administrative procedures whereby the assistance of a solicitor need not necessarily be sought. Previously, it had already been ruled that insurers were required to allow their insured parties to freely choose their lawyer in cases in which it is compulsory to be represented by a lawyer.
Legal expenses insurers have their own lawyers who work for them. With a view to cost management and efficiency, they allow cases of their insured parties to be handled by their own lawyer if so desired. In this connection, independent lawyers have repeatedly raised the question as to whether the lawyer employed by a legal expenses insurer has conflicting interests. On the one hand, they need to minimise the costs for their employer, while on the other hand they have to be seen to obtain a result that is as favourable as possible for the insured party. This is why they have been calling for the free choice of lawyer for insured parties.