ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Compensation Helpline
24 Winckley Square
31 July 2002
The Law Society of Scotland objected to a directory advertisement for legal advice. The advertisement appeared in the "solicitors" section of the directory and stated "ACCIDENT CLAIMS! *No Win No Fee No Worries *Home Visits *All claims are handled by our panel of independent expert personal injury solicitors ...". The complainants, who believed the advertisers were not solicitors, objected that the advertisement misleadingly implied that the advertisers were solicitors.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The advertisers said their advertisements promoted the services offered by their panel of independent solicitors. They said they handled initial enquiries and prepared the relevant documents before forwarding the claim to a solicitor who assessed whether or not to pursue the case. The advertisers maintained the advertisement did not suggest they were solicitors and argued that it made clear they did not carry out the legal work themselves with the claim "All claims are handled by our panel of independent personal injury solicitors". They said they created the advertisement with help from the publishers of the directory in which the advertisement appeared and the advertisers' panel of solicitors to ensure that it complied with Law Society guidelines. They provided a copy of a letter from the publishers of the directory; it showed that the publishers had agreed the wording of the advertisement with the advertisers. They also provided a copy of a letter from a firm of solicitors in Scotland to which they referred claims. The advertisers said they had used the advertisement for three years and intended to use it again. The Authority understood that the advertisers worked as a referral service for independent legal firms and were not solicitors themselves. It considered, however, that readers of the advertisement were likely to infer from the claim "all claims are handled by our panel of independent expert personal injury solicitors" that the advertisers had solicitors working for them. Because the advertisers were a referral service and did not employ solicitors, the Authority considered that the advertisement was likely to mislead readers to think they had a dedicated team of personal injury solicitors. It asked the advertisers to amend the advertisement to make clear they were not solicitors by stating that all claims were referred to independent personal injury solicitors.