Articles From the Team

Woolf Reforms In Action With Clinical Negligence Cases

A decade has passed since the Woolf reforms were first inked which are only now showing fruition. Lord Woolf envisioned that his reforms would drastically restructure the legal framework which would run more cost effectively and efficiently resulting in many more legal claims being settled outside of court.

Recent studies show that one area of law where the Woolf reforms are fully effective is within clinical negligence. There has been a vast reduction in the number of cases that end up in court which demonstrates that there are better ways of dealing with even some of the more complicated clinical negligence cases out of court. Recent statistics show that there has been a 76% rise in the number of cases that have settled out of court. This figure reflects change over the past five years. The reason for this is that there is more emphasis on instructing experienced and accredited experts very early on in the case. This in turn has created a better trust in relying on expert evidence to guide them through to completion of a case and ensuring that the best settlement is awarded.

Research suggests that one main factor influencing this significant rise in cases settled out of court is due to the fact that those subject to the ongoing clinical negligence cases are lot more conscious of delays in court and the costs implications of being involved in such lengthy court process. Rather than running the risk of being caught up in lengthy proceedings those involved in these cases would prefer to concentrate on obtaining a fair and reasonable settlement based on instructing credible experts from the onset of the case.

This now combined with the Jackson reforms incorporating changes into the Civil Procedure Rules has paved the way for a more stream lined approach in court proceedings. In particular this is evident in instances when dealing with disclosure and instruction of experts that must be undertaken within specific timescales which if not adhered to, has costs implications.

The recent reforms and changes in law now means that those involved in clinical negligence cases can be assured that by taking pro-active steps from the onset of a case and investing in instructing objective medical experts to provide an informed and detailed assessment can and will avoid the long arduous process of court proceedings which can often be physically, emotionally and financially challenging.

With this in mind and an overall increase in clinical negligence work we have seen that there is a demand for more clinical negligence lawyers to service the work. Market intelligence at BCL Legal suggests that there has been a 70% increase in clinical negligence vacancies in recent months. However with the actual clinical negligence market being so concentrated it has proved difficult for leading firms to recruit into their clinical negligence teams. This has interestingly encouraged top tier firms to extend their parameters and are now keen to recruit lawyers that come from a personal injury background. If you are a personal injury solicitor that regularly deals with high value multi track EL/PL or high value multi track catastrophic injury caseload that has a demonstrable interest in crossing over to clinical negligence you would most certainly be of interest to these leading firms.

If you are a claimant or defendant personal injury solicitor with this level of experience and wish to receive further details about current clinical negligence roles across the Midlands and South West, including Bristol please contact BCL Legal or call 0161 819 7475.

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