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This article was published on January 30th, 2017
The government today has announced the 12 week consultation for fixed fees in clinical negligence claims with a damages value of up to £25k. Whilst this is clearly going to be inevitable, it is alarming that the news reports continue to paint the claimant lawyers as unscrupulous!
They quote a case where a claimant firm received £83,000 and the claimant received £1,000? This quite frankly I find hard to believe? They say there is no current costs cap but there are rules regarding proportionality!!
We have examples in Thorneycroft where we have openly written to the NHSLA to suggest that litigation is not needed in a particular situation (damages limited but personal feelings run high, usually involving bereavements) only to be met with the ‘party line’, i.e. ‘get an expensive report and serve with a formal letter of claim’. Who in that situation is responsible for running up costs? Eventually the NHSLA will settle, but only after a year of stalling!
By all means have a consultation, but keep it open and balanced ….a lot of the causes of increased costs lie with the defendants. As claimants we are being hit with proportionality arguments left right and centre. In actual fact, some certainty on costs (fixed or otherwise) may be a good thing.