In three linked appeals (Tankard v John Fredericks Plastics Ltd, Hibberd v Fawcett Old Ltd, & Jones v Attrill), the Court of Appeal, in a judgment delivered by the Master of the Rolls, has rejected challenges to the Law Society’s Accident Line Protect scheme. The court concluded that membership of Accident Line was not an ‘interest’ which had to be declared by solicitors recommending the ALP insurance policy, and therefore there was no breach of the CFA Regulations 2000.
The court went on to hold, obiter, that where an interest did exist, the solicitors had not merely to state that it existed, but to give a clear explanation of the nature of the interest.
In finding there was no declarable interest, the court accepted the argument advanced by Benjamin Williams in Hibberd. The outcome of the appeals is therefore a particular vindication of the approach in that case. By contrast, the existence of an interest had gone undisputed by the Law Society itself, and had also been conceded in Tankard and other cases in the lower courts.