Fletchers Solicitors says that it has become the first law firm in the UK to secure a written Judgment following the award of an interim payment for its client from the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA), based on a change to the interim payments rule.
Fletchers says that the written Judgment is a major victory for the legal industry and claimants alike.
The change to the interim payments rule, which was introduced in April 2013, means that defendants are now required to make interim payments to claimants if the court makes an order for costs subject to detailed assessment – unless there are good reasons not to do so.
The court’s judgment in the case of Travers v Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the first written Judgment since the new ruling has been put into practice.
In 2015, after Travers’ case for medical negligence was settled, it was passed to Liverpool County Court to determine costs.
To help secure an early payment, Fletchers brought the new interim payment ruling to the attention of the court, urging it to take the rule change into account when considering their claimant’s request.
Despite objections and arguments put forward by the defendants as to why an interim payment should not be made, the court agreed that there was enough evidence to award the requested £7,780 to the claimant.
The case is now expected to be utilised throughout the sector, with future claimants likely to use the ruling to back their request for interim payments.
Benjamin Moody, advocacy manager for Fletchers Solicitors’ in-house costs company, Ultimate Costs, said: “This is a fantastic result for our client and it is also welcome news for the legal profession and their clients. Interim payments are extremely valuable when it comes to bringing a case to final settlement. The process can often take a significant time to conclude and interim payments serve to speed up the process.
“For too long, defendants have strenuously objected to providing interim payments, putting off that dreaded day when costs must be paid. The Court has now sent a very clear message that the rule change is to be interpreted in the claimant’s favour.
“The defendants should now have to prove that there is a genuine reason not to provide an interim payment at an early stage, that will no doubt prove difficult in the majority of cases.”