Updated Pre-action Protocol for the resolution of clinical disputes
We understand that the Master of the Rolls has formally signed off an updated version of the Protocol that has come into immediate effect.
Published 24 June 2015
The Government is looking to introduce new measures to curb clinical negligence costs, including an implementation of fixed fees, as announced by the Legal Gazette today.
Claimants' costs in clinical negligence claims against the NHS amounted to £259m (or 22% of the entire expenditure on clinical negligence claims) for 2013/2014, according to NHS Resolution's (formerly the NHS Litigation Authority) figures. Whilst no formal measures were announced in the recent Queen's speech, the Department of Health has confirmed that it is actively looking at ways to reduce legal costs.
Medical Malpractice Insurers and their insureds will no doubt welcome sensible and well-planned proposals to reduce claimant costs. If a fixed fee scheme were to be introduced for med-mal claims, we would expect its remit to be contained to certain low value claims only, as already exists with personal injury claims post-Jackson. However, with personal injury claimant firms already forced to branch out and seek clinical negligence work, it will be very interesting to see whether fixed-fees for medical malpractice claims would lead to an actual reduction in claimant cost spend, potentially offset against an increase claims in overall claims, and a likely increasing number of claims from litigants in person, as we have already seen.