Before the Event Insurance could save you a lot of money on legal fees. It is an insurance policy covering legal costs either in a personal or business context, often referred to as BTE.
You are not alone if you have never heard of it before, but it is well worth knowing what it entitles you to.
If you are a business owner, you are likely to have business insurance which may already include Before the Event Insurance (BTE), but if it doesn’t, is it worth getting?
What Is Its Purpose?
BTE is a type of legal expenses insurance which is available in the event that you require legal advice, such as during a dispute with a tradesman, issues at work or even in the event of a professional negligence claim. BTE will cover the cost of that advice.
What Will It Cover?
The cover will usually pay for:
- Your solicitor’s fees and expenses;
- Costs of an expert witness (if applicable);
- Court Fees i.e. the cost of issuing the claim at Court;
- Your opponent’s legal costs in the event that they become payable.
What It Will Not Cover?
No legal expenses insurance, including the BTE, will cover compensation that you may be ordered to pay if you lose your case.
Appropriate Next Steps.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation whereby you/your business are, or are likely to be in a dispute with someone, follow these 3 steps:
- Seek legal advice. This is so that you may understand your position clearly in respect of the relevant options that may be available to you (which could mean the avoidance of litigation altogether), as well as discuss the various funding options that may be available to you – including BTE.
- As soon as possible (if not immediately), contact your insurance provider to determine whether they will assist you by covering your legal fees. Is a legal expenses insurance already in your policy?
- Instruct your chosen solicitor* and the insurance provider to speak with one another to determine the appropriate next steps and advise you accordingly.
*You must remember that when speaking to your insurance provider you are – without a doubt – at liberty to appoint your own solicitor to deal with your case. Insurance providers have unfortunately become content with forcing policy holders who are seeking to use the benefit of the BTE cover with their “panel” solicitors.
What if Before The Event Insurance is not available?
After the Event insurance may be available. This is another form of legal expenses insurance for when you are in a dispute and you need to cover the costs of going to court.
There are various funding options available to a client depending on the case that they are faced with. Griffin Law pride themselves on providing innovative, cost-effective legal advice to individuals and businesses. This includes (but is not limited to) discussing funding options that may be available to them and how we can help achieve an end result for our clients to be happy with.
Recent developments in support of your right to your own solicitor
This point regarding the freedom of an insured to choose their own solicitor was recently highlighted in the case of Nobile v DAS Rechtsschutz-Versicherungs AG (Case E-21/16). The case considered whether provisions in a legal expenses insurance contract were compatible with the freedom for an insured to appoint a lawyer as set out clearly in the Solvency II Directive (2009/138/EC).
Article 201(1)(a) of the Solvency II Directive stated that: the insured person must be free to choose a lawyer.
It was also determined in the case of Nobile v DAS Rechtsschutz-Versicherungs AG that the Before the Event Insurance provider has no right to deny cover for the potential proceedings in issue because it determines that such proceeding are unnecessary, disproportionate or premature.
You may be reading this and questioning whether it will still be applicable post-Brexit. There is indications however that this Directive (among others) will remain binding and operating in the UK.