Commenting on today’s Department of Health consultation Introducing Fixed Recoverable Costs in Lower Value Clinical Negligence Claims, Agata Usewicz, head of the medical negligence team at London law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, says:
“Many practitioners will be relieved that fixed recoverable costs will be capped at £25,000, rather than the £250,000 which had been mooted prior to the consultation being released. However, there remains a very real risk that vulnerable and already disadvantaged groups of people will simply not be able to access justice.
“If these proposals are to be implemented and access to justice preserved, fatal claims, still-births, claimants lacking mental or legal capacity and, claims where the client has a very short life expectancy must be exempted.
“In our response, we will evidence the current culture at the NHSLA and set out how this must change in order to achieve the stated aim of improving patient care by encouraging learning. Unless there is the necessary culture change, many of the proposals will be futile.”