Farmer’s plight highlights the need for legal support

Specialist Management Liability policy Rural Protect, protects against the very issues faced by 83-year-old Kenneth Hugill.

Lawyer Nick Freeman has questioned the fairness of the legal system which “badly let down” his client, Kenneth Hugill, an 83-year-old farmer who despite being cleared for Grievous Bodily Harm after shooting an intruder in the foot, was still left with a £30,000 bill for his defence costs.

Fortunately, a JustGiving page set up by Mr Freeman has already reached over £22,000 – sparing Mr Hugill a debt which would have taken the family 20-30 years to pay off.

With the legal system still seeing innocent defendants penalised with massive court bills, the case once again highlights the need for dedicated insurance especially designed for farmers.

Rural Protect is a Management Liability insurance policy developed specifically for rural clients, offering protection in claims brought about not just by UK regulators such as HSE and Defra, but also from criminal allegations.

Given that the jury in Mr Hugill’s case took only 24 minutes to reach the verdict of “not guilty”, this is a prime example of where Rural Protect offers important financial support.

Not only does this policy, unique to the UK insurance market, provide financial reimbursement for legal costs in defence and in pursuit where there is a reasonable chance of success, it also includes access to free expert advice on regulatory and legal matters from law firm radar.

Financial trap

Confusion over who pays for what, and discrepancies between Management Liability and Legal Expenses can cause many defendants to all into a financial trap created by The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012, which was put into practice in 2013, drastically limiting the reach of legal aid.

Meanwhile, those reassured that they are covered by Legal Expenses in their policy are often not if they were to find themselves in a similar position to that of Mr Hugill, who was “petrified” by his ordeal.

Legal Expenses will typically provide cover for legal advice following a dispute arising from property, tax, employment, contracts and debt recovery, and the associated legal defence costs.

Management Liability, on the other hand, covers the defence costs and awards arising from any allegation of wrongdoing in connection with the business. Cover is provided for the policyholder, their employees and also their business for allegations brought via the Civil or Criminal legal system.

Rural Protect is unique as a Management Liability policy in that it comes from the understanding of the challenges that those with a rural business face, and specifically the gaps in cover which McClarrons, who created the policy along with global insurer AXA, identified.

Darren Felgate, Account Executive at McClarrons said; “The case with Mr Hugill is very unfortunate, and it is just these kinds of scenarios we want to help rural businesses avoid.”

“This is why we worked carefully to create a product that plugs all the gaps in cover, to protect rural clients and reassure them that they have the essential legal cover they need, thereby avoiding the financial stress of exorbitant defence costs they may face in the future.”

Farmland Magazine

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McClarrons Ltd

Malton based McClarrons offer expert independent advice to provide effective rural insurance.

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