What are the rules about advertising for personal injury work?
These are found in the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (PIPA), Chapter 3 Part 1 (sections 62 to 69).
The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is the regulatory body for PIPA, and has issued three guides:
The last of these, Guide 5, deals with 2 issues:
- advertising through “sponsored links” on search engine results pages on websites such as Google - essentially the content of these is restricted in the same way as print advertising
- arrangements for referral of personal injury clients to law practices by non-lawyer referral agencies – the referrer’s website needs to comply with PIPA.
Advertising of personal injuries services is not allowed at all on radio, television, at the cinema or in recorded telephone messages .
Advertising in print (billboards, leaflets, newspapers, magazines) is limited to your and your law practice's name, contact details and your areas of practice or speciality. You are not permitted any pictures or "self-promotional statements". These same restrictions apply to advertising on a website other than your own.
However, on your own law practice’s website, in addition to the above, you are able to include statements about:
- the operation of personal injury law and a person’s legal rights under that law
- the conditions under which you are prepared to act - this can include details of no win no fee arrangements.
There are also some restrictions on your use of pictures on your website.
The LSC's website comparer helpfully illustrates the restrictions on advertising personal injury services on your own website, and how and where pictures are permitted.
There are also restrictions on touting and referrals in sections 67 to 68 of PIPA.