The Government looks set to cap the fixed costs threshold for clinical negligence cases at £25,000.
Minutes taken at a Civil Procedure Rule Committee meeting in July show that here was a change of policy within the Department of Health earlier this year, leading it to look at consulting on fixed fees in respect of claims up to £25,000. Claims up to that figure make up about 60% of all clinical negligence cases.
The committee agreed that the material worked up by a sub-committee on a draft protocol, along with illustrative rules, would be amended as a result. The date of publication of the consultation was unknown.
Nina Ali, clinical negligence partner at Hodge Jones & Allen said that at first glance, the meeting minutes had revealed a welcome change of policy.
“However, unless there is a proper and effective consultation and ultimately acceptance that there are a number of case types that must be made exceptions of, this change of policy and playing with numbers is meaningless,” she said.
“In order to ensure that that some semblance of justice in the absence of legal aid for any case other than a birth injury prevails, exceptions must include, fatal cases, cases with human rights issues, cases that concern the vulnerable in society such as the elderly and people with learning disabilities.”