Many solicitors have been musing over the Government’s intention to consider a £250K fixed fee limit on Clinical Negligence claims. It was fair to say that a good number of solicitors responded with vigour in defending their position as perhaps one might expect by publishing their comments on the online “Comment” section of the Law Gazette following an article by John Hyde on 10th August 2015… suffice to say many solicitors were left reeling.
According to the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) 2014/2015 report of accounts the NHSLA spent £1,169,506,598 on clinical negligence claims with; £291,909,829 in costs settled, £774,444,125 in awards and £103,232,994. In March this year, known claims had exceeded £12bn, save for ongoing liabilities and for those claims the NHSLA are not yet aware of.
With the NHSLA referring all claims to undergo an assessment of costs such delays in a firm’s ability to recover fees are inevitably putting further strain on many firms cash flow.
As we continue to witness strategic commercial re modelling amongst law firms, adaption to change continues to be on the upper part of their agenda. Disbursement costs are increasing particularly in the case of clinical negligence claims, couple this with the notable delays in recoverability of fees and it is little wonder why a large number of firms are focused on seeking solutions to circumnavigate this growing problem.
Partial recoverability of Clinical Negligence ATE premiums continue to be enjoyed following the 2013 post Jackson reforms. Doubtless the NHSLA regard this as an unfair discriminatory adverse cost but there it is.
By obtaining ATE cover the client is protected against adverse costs and disbursements’, remembering the premium is partially recoverable offered on a contingent basis; is this not a large part of the antidote to the current costs strain circumstance?
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