Articles From the Team

Proposed Fixed Fees For Clinical Negligence

With the dust only just settling after the Jackson reforms and introduction of fixed fee costs for personal injury claims, there are now talks of introducing the same for clinical negligence claims.

I recently read online that the NHS Litigation Authority Report and Accounts 2015/2015 have initiated a consultation process gearing towards the introduction of fixed fees in clinical negligence claims. Please click on the following link for more information on this

The report suggests that government can save £100millon on fixed fees up to £250,000 claims. The thinking behind this is that the NHSLA feel that the costs incurred are disproportionate due to hourly rates charged by claimant solicitors for pre litigation work compared to that of what defence lawyers recover, as well as some other growing concerns as highlighted in the article.

There are ongoing discussions for and against the proposed changes and there will be interesting times ahead if the proposed changes take place. There will be a period of uncertainty on all counts not only for claimant and defendant lawyers but for law firms also. Inevitably law firms will have to adapt their business model to the changes just as they did when the Jackson reforms came into play.

Increased pressure on the NHS and staff working longer hours, inevitably mistakes are going to happen and more negligence claims are going to be made against medical professionals. This of course has a knock on affect on legal costs that are incurred on both sides of the fence which could perhaps explain the proposal of fixed fees. Consequently an increase in claims against medical professionals means law firms need to hire more clinical negligence specialist to represent claimants as well as panel firms recruiting for their defendant teams.

Therefore whilst the government grapples with the proposed changes, the clinical negligence market is changing and we have seen a rise in new jobs in both claimant and defendant teams. As a specialist recruitment consultant in clinical negligence I have been instructed by leading claimant and defendant firms in the Midlands and Home Counties to help recruit for their clinical negligence teams. The work on offer in either a claimant or defendant role are focused on high value/complex claims with the opportunity to assist on £multi million claims.

It is an exciting time for newly qualified solicitors who have undertaken a clinical negligence seat during their training contract that are keen to specialise in an area of law that is technically challenging but also reap the rewards for working for large national or international practices. Similarly these leading firms are keen to speak to trainee solicitors/newly qualified solicitors that have not had the opportunity to take clinical negligence as a training seat but have instead completed a seat in personal injury or insurance litigation that would be interested in specialising in clinical negligence work.

If you are a trainee solicitor or recently qualified solicitor that would be keen to discuss clinical negligence opportunities please contact BCL Legal or call 0161 819 7475 to discuss further.

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