Proposals to cap legal costs do not go far enough – DDU

Recommendations to establish a working party to examine fixing costs for clinical negligence claims valued at up to £25,000 do not go far enough to reduce the burden of litigation on the NHS, the Dental Defence Union (DDU) said today.

Responding to Lord Justice Jackson's review of civil litigation costs, the DDU said it was disappointed with the proposals which were a missed opportunity to make claimant's legal costs more proportionate to compensation paid to patients.

John Makin, head of the DDU said:

'This review is the latest in a series of consultations that have taken place on the issue of how to make costs more proportionate to compensation paid to patients. Each time, the proposals seem to be more watered down. This review of litigation costs is no exception and is likely to further delay implementation.

'Patients who believe they have been negligently harmed must have access to justice, but fixed costs are fairer and could, and indeed should, be applied to all cases valued at up to £250,000.

'In lower-value claims, claimant lawyers' fees are still, on average, above the level of damages awarded and that cannot be right. If these proposals are only applied to the lowest value cases then the problem will not be fully addressed.

'The rising tide of litigation is having a dramatic effect on the dental profession and the NHS more widely. The current system makes no sense and creates too many perverse incentives. It needs root and branch reform.'

The MDU, the parent company of the DDU, is campaigning for legal reform of compensation claims. Find out more about supporting our fair compensation campaign.

This guidance was correct at publication 01/08/2017. 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.

You may also be interested in


Government working party should tackle runaway legal costs, says DDU

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) said today that the establishment of a Civil Justice Council working group to consider fixed legal costs in clinical negligence claims is a positive step in tackling runaway legal costs.

Read more

DDU reveals top five reasons for dental claims

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) has revealed the five areas of dental treatment that lead to the most claims for compensation, with extractions being the commonest cause of claims.

Read more

DDU launches new member app

The Dental Defence Union (DDU) has today launched their new app. The app is available for all members to download on their iPhone, iPad, Android phone and Android tablet via the Apple and Google app stores.

Read more