Search Legislation

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012

Section 56: Rules against referral fees

326.Section 56 prohibits the payment and receipt by “regulated persons” of referral fees in respect of claims for personal injury and death. In particular, section 56 makes provision to prevent the prohibition on the payment of referral fees in personal injury cases being avoided by presenting the referral fee as a payment for the referral of a connected claim (for example, in a road traffic accident, a credit hire claim or a claim for damage to other property), irrespective of when the referral of information relating to that connected claim occurs. “Regulated person” is defined in section 60 and includes claims management companies (“CMC”s), barristers and solicitors, as well as descriptions of authorised persons under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (such as insurers) if specified in regulations by the Treasury. The prohibition extends to the receipt of a referral fee by a regulated person from a party who, although not a regulated person, provides services to the regulated person’s client in connection with their claim, for example a doctor who provides a medical report at the request of a solicitor and who pays the solicitor a fee for the referral. It also enables the Lord Chancellor to make regulations to extend the ban to other types of claim and legal services (defined in subsection (6)).

327.As regards the meaning of “referral”, the effect of subsection (5) is to treat a referral as the provision by a person other than the client of information that a regulated person authorised to provide legal services would need to make an offer to the client to provide legal services.

328.Subsection (8) provides that a referral fee can be any form of consideration (which could, depending on the circumstances, include, for example, an offer by a solicitor to take on other work at a reduced rate or for no payment at all), other than normal hospitality, whether paid to the referrer directly or to a third party.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources