Peter Brash, Grigor & Young, APIL Senior Litigator
Not every solicitor handles personal injury claims but, more importantly, not every solicitor who handles personal injury claims is a specialist.
In previous posts, we have explained
- why you need a specialist personal injury solicitor, preferably local to you, to handle your claim for you; and
- how the Law Society of Scotland’s Accreditation scheme is one badge of recognition of skills beyond the ordinary in particular areas of law, such as personal injury.
How else can you tell whether a solicitor is going to be up to the task of handling your claim?
Membership of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
APIL is a not-for-profit organisation set up over 20 years ago to encourage accident prevention and assist accident victims through campaigns and lobbying. It has over 4,300 members, most of whom are UK-based solicitors. APIL’s headquarters are in Nottingham.
The culture of the organisation promotes the sharing of information among members so that accident victims have the best possible chance of their claim succeeding.
APIL provides training for members in all aspects of personal injury and clinical negligence law. Its courses are generally held to be the most relevant, in-depth and practical of their type.
It sounds trite but personal injury law is constantly changing and it’s in your interests to choose a solicitor who is both interested in the Law of Delict and committed to keeping up to date with it – something which membership of APIL tends to indicate.
Individual accreditation by APIL
This is in some ways a similar system to the one operated by the Law Society of Scotland. Details of the APIL scheme can be found here.
A difference is the fact that accreditation is at different levels. In increasing order of importance, these are: Senior Litigator, Fellow and Senior Fellow.
In Scotland, as at February 2014, there were 49 individually-accredited APIL solicitor members. Of these, all but two were accredited at Senior Litigator level. The exceptions were Ronald Conway of Bonnar Accident Law (Airdrie) and David Short of Balfour + Manson (Edinburgh) – both accredited at the higher grade of Fellow.
Digby Brown had 18 accredited solicitors spread over its 5 offices (Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Kirkcaldy), giving them over a third of the total number. Balfour + Manson came next, with 10 accredited solicitors between its two offices in Aberdeen and Edinburgh. These two firms together account for approaching 60% of the 49 accredited solicitors in Scotland.
Thorntons (Dundee) and Irwin Mitchell Scotland (Glasgow) have 4 accredited solicitors each. Edinburgh firms Allan McDougall and Lawford Kidd each have two accredited solicitors.
The firms which each have a single APIL accredited solicitor are: Blackadders (Edinburgh), Bonnar Accident Law (Airdrie), Brodies (Glasgow), Drummond Miller (Edinburgh), Gildeas (Edinburgh), Grigor & Young (Elgin), Mackinnons (Aberdeen), The McKinstry Company (Ayr) and Peacock Johnston (Glasgow).
Firm accreditation by APIL
Beyond accreditation of individual solicitors, since 1999, APIL has also given recognition to branches of solicitor firms where there is at least one person accredited to Senior Litigator level (or above) and certain other criteria are satisfied.
Basically, the firm must agree to have its performance monitored by APIL to check that standards are maintained. Benchmarks include client care and well-documented quality assurance systems.
Accredited branches can refer to themselves as an “Accredited Personal Injury Practice”.
APIL’s records show that, at February 2014, there were 10 “corporate firms” in Scotland. However, because the accreditation is per branch, it is only 5 firms of solicitors which had the corporate kitemark.
All 5 Digby Brown branches and both Balfour + Manson branches (see above) have corporate accreditation. The remaining three are: Bonnar Accident Law, Irwin Mitchell Scotland and Lawford Kidd.
Contact us for help
If you would like more information about the contents of this blog post or about our personal injury services in general, feel free to get in touch. Paralegal, Elaine Matthews, and solicitors, Marie Morrison and Peter Brash, of Grigor & Young / Moray Claims are members of APIL. Peter is accredited at Senior Litigator level.