The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ (APIL) annual conference ends today, 18 April 2018, with what looks to be a timely “Law Reform and litigation update” session covering the discount rate, clinical negligence, small claims, court reforms and gastric illness. The keynote address yesterday was delivered by MoJ Minister Lord Keen, who touched on most of these topics in his speech. It is understood he did not take questions after the speech and left very promptly.
The MoJ has just released Lord Keen’s speech on civil justice reform and while it is worth reading, it really does not say anything new about the Government’s reform agenda and its preferred timetable for change.
On Monday 30 January the Department of Health published its long-awaited consultation paper on introducing fixed recoverable costs for clinical negligence claims. These would be mandatory for all clinical negligence claims (i.e. applying to claims arising in the health service as well as in other/private treatment settings) valued between £1,000 and £25,000 and the consultation includes detailed costs figures.
Approximately 80% of all claims settled for damages against the NHS in England in 2015/16 fall within this range. It is also at these relatively lower levels of damages that the disproportionality of claimant legal costs appears at its greatest – the consultation reports that in these cases total claimant costs are more than double, 220%, the damages awarded. The consultation will close on 1 May 2017.