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Committee (7th Day)

Part of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 1st February 2012.

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Photo of Lord Neill of Bladen Lord Neill of Bladen Crossbench 5:45 pm, 1st February 2012

I support this amendment. The practice that it outlaws seems to be absolutely disgraceful, with an insurance company being paid by its own side-by the defendant-and then approaching the plaintiff to try to do a cheap deal with him for the benefit of the defendant. It seems to me that the conflict of interest is so gross that it ought not to be permitted at all. I am a little surprised by the words in the amendment, which mention knowing that the plaintiff is represented, because I am not quite sure how the amendment would cover a situation where the plaintiff had no representation. When thinking about how one would refine the language, I think one might consider taking out that qualification, because, with a general ban on this practice, your Lordships would simply agree with the amendment.