What is FOIL?
FOIL is THE representative voice of the defendant insurance lawyer community which advances a reforming agenda for a more transparent and proportionate claims environment benefiting claimants and insurers alike.
FOIL’s members are involved in all areas of insurance and comprise lawyers acting predominantly or exclusively for insurance clients (except legal expenses insurers) either practising with law firms, or as barristers or as in-house lawyers for insurers or self-insurers.
In 2017 FOIL celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The organisation is led by practising lawyers, with a revolving one-year presidency. It has a permanent Chief Executive, drawn from a non-legal insurance industry background, who leads a small expert management team responsible for driving forward long-term strategy, maintaining the timely flow of essential information to members and handling all administration.
FOIL ACHIEVES ITS OBJECTIVES THROUGH:
- Lobbying; Consultation responses, press comment, thought leadership writing, roundtable events.
- Education; Educational talks, speaker seminars and written updates accredited for CPD points by the Law Society and the C.I.I. and designed to help members work to the FOIL Standard.
- Networking; A platform for fellow practitioners at different firms to meet and work together.
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History of FOIL
FOIL was formed in 1992 to provide the defendant community – lawyers, solicitors and legal executives – a body to sit alongside APIL, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, ensuring that views across the board would be heard.
FOIL’s first President, Maurice Nichols, summed up the position: “It (FOIL) may provide a useful point of contact with organisations such as APIL, perhaps with a view to agreeing certain understandings, protocols and helping to smooth the passage of litigation generally.”
Since those early days, FOIL has grown significantly to deal with many areas of defendant insurance claims law, not just personal injury, and we now work with TLS, SRA, CILEX, the CJC, the AHMDJ and the LSB as well as liaising with APIL and MASS amongst the professional lawyer organisations.
We also work with the ABI, the CII, the MIB, CILA, Alarm, AIRMIC, NHS Resolution, UKCMA, the MGAA, the IUA, the LMA and the FSCM in the insurance and wider industry sectors.
Critically, we carry forward our members’ views to the Ministry of Justice with whom we meet regularly. FOIL’s influence and reputation within industry and Government are now higher and more far reaching than they have ever been.
In 2017, as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary, FOIL is supporting 8,000 insurance lawyers and paralegals across the United Kingdom. We have 26 Sector Focus Teams including 6 dedicated to Scottish law. These cover insurance claims law in areas as diverse as Construction, Professional Indemnity and Clinical Negligence. FOIL issues over 100 updates, bulletins and consultation responses each year and our members’ views regularly appear in the press.
FOIL is now an important interface between defendant insurance lawyers, insurers, self-insured organisations and lawmakers, operating at the forefront of discussion where changes in legislation or rules are discussed to achieve balanced outcomes which benefit the wider public interest.
Who knows what the next 25 years hold or what the civil justice landscape will look like in 2042?
I’m sure FOIL will still be an important player in the reform process and I wonder whether those of us that are around to celebrate our 50th Anniversary, we will look back on 2017 as the “good old days” or “the dark ages”
Time will tell…
Laurence Besemer FCII (CEO)