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‘Targeting chasers raises rights issues’

Lord Hunt’s proposal to introduce case fees for vexatious complaints brought by claim-chasers could fall foul of human rights law, warns solicitor Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.

Partner Jonathan Davies says introducing a case fee for vexatious claims presented by claim management companies, rather than for all complainants, could breach the Human Rights Act.

He says: “A claim management company could argue that under article 14 of the Human Rights Convention, they are being discriminated against on the basis of a status, when the same penalty is not going to be charged against any other professional putting forward their claim.”

Davies believes the recommendation also discriminates against consumers who choose claim managers to put forward their complaints because there would not be the risk of a fee if they went direct to the FOS.

He says: “What I cannot understand is why they are not evoking the power they have got to say that everybody who makes a vexatious complaint should pay a fee. For Lord Hunt to say that some people should and others not is very strange.”

Davies says Lord Hunt’s recommendation that claim management companies should contribute to the FOS levy would require new legislation to enforce.

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