Lord Justice Jackson has concluded months of investigations with the publication of his supplemental report into Civil Litigation Costs.

He has recommended that Fixed Recoverable Costs – set amounts of money which can be recovered from the losing side for the cost of pursuing a case depending on the point at which the case is concluded – be introduced for all ‘fast track’ cases, being those cases where the value of damages is likely to be less than £25,000.

Fixed recoverable costs already apply in personal injury cases such as road traffic accidents, employers’ liability cases and public liability cases but, if adopted, Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendations will extend the system to include all civil litigation fast track cases.

However, he has identified that clinical negligence cases present a far more complicated picture. Whilst many claims are of low financial value, the medical issues involved are often extremely complex, meaning that the costs involved in pursuing those cases can be high, and, of course, the emotional significance of the issue to the claimants is considerable.

Where clinical negligence is concerned, Lord Justice Jackson has recommended that all parties – both claimants’ and defendants’ representatives – work with the Department of Health and the Civil Justice Council to ‘develop a bespoke process for clinical negligence claims’. Nonetheless, he continues to propose that a grid of fixed recoverable costs should form part of the outcome of this process.

Reactions to the report have been mixed, with the Law Society reporting barrister, Daniel Frieze’s comments that “these fixed costs proposals run the risk of denying many claimants access to justice.” Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) have also raised concerns that the proposals will mean that many small value but serious claims – such as stillbirths – may no longer be economically viable.

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If you have been the victim of clinical negligence, contact Glynns Solicitors to discuss your situation with an experienced solicitor. We will be happy to advise you as to the best way forward.

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