Responding to the announcement by the Department of Health that it is proposing to cap excessive legal fees in clinical negligence claims, Rupert Hoppenbrouwers, Head of the DDU, said:
"Even with the 2013 reforms, high legal costs charged by claimant solicitors continue to be a major part of the cost of clinical negligence claims. We still see disproportionate legal costs, which often far exceed the compensation received by the patient. This cannot be right and we support any proposals aimed at limiting these excessive costs.
"If it was decided to introduce a well thought out, fixed cost structure for legal costs in clinical negligence claims that could only be a good thing. Patients must be provided with access to justice if they have been negligently harmed but legal fees must be affordable and proportionate to the compensation claimed by them.
"Although costs are too high, they are not the main reason for the staggering estimated £25.6bn NHS bill for clinical negligence claims. We would also like to see the government do something to contain the spiralling cost of compensation awards, with claims inflation rising at 10% per year. We also need legal reform to make damages payments affordable, sustainable and fair for all parties."
This guidance was correct at publication 30/06/2015. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.