• Robert Spicer

Parasitism and the law-commodity

Parasitism

Wherever large amounts of money are to be made from the law, increasing levels of parasitism can be seen to develop around the law-commodity. Layer upon layer of non-lawyers skim percentages from the system.

For example, personal injury compensation claims are surrounded by claims farmers, insurance companies, television and press advertising companies. Other examples include:

  • Companies operating on the Internet which offer to help students to obtain pupillage. A customised application form is offered for £650 and customised interview answers for £800. The company states that its services are organised to maximise the chances of successfully navigating the application process. The top-end “Magic Service” costs £4500.

  • A QC selection consultancy which, for a considerable fee, offers coaching in the QC appointment process.

  • Employment and health and safety law also attracts layers of commercial activities aimed at extracting profits from employment tribunal claims. Consultancy companies, as well as providing unqualified representation, may offer insurance schemes for employers to “protect” them from the cost of employment tribunal proceedings. Such companies may offer free seminars as a means of pitching their insurance sales. Thus the organisations providing seminar facilities also profit from employment disputes.

  • Mediation services, offered as a cheaper alternative to litigation (again, money is the key).

  • Bar Select. This is an agency for clients wanting to instruct barristers online. It is described by its promoters as “an exciting new marketing channel”. Barristers are asked to sign up for £99 per month for a minimum of 12 months. This electronic introduction agency is, we are told, “supporting the process of change and modernisation designed to serve the interests of both clients and the legal profession”

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