On the 1st April, radical changes to the law will come into effect, significantly altering the way in which clinical negligence claims are made.

One of the biggest upsets is that legal aid is going to be restricted across a range of civil cases, including clinical negligence cases. Only children with severe birth injures will be entitled to receive public funding.

“Absolutely scandalous”

There are widespread concerns about the effect this is going to have, as Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, recently described: “My worry is the removal of legal aid for people to get advice about law and get representation in court will start to undermine the rule of law because people will feel like the government isn’t giving them access to justice in all sorts of cases.”

“And that will either lead to frustration and lack of confidence in the system, or it will lead to people taking the law into their own hands. This will mean that court hearings will last longer, the burden on court staff and judges will increase.”

Lord Bach, shadow justice minister, said: “to take away the ability of people to get free legal advice when they need it is absolutely scandalous. Our whole system of justice is based on equality of law – if people can’t get some access to justice then why should people believe in the rule of law anymore.” He added the changes will mainly hurt “the very poorest and the most disadvantaged in society.”

No win no fee agreements for clinical negligence

No win no fee agreements – otherwise known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) – will still be in use. However, a claimant’s solicitor will no longer be able to recover their success fees from the other side. This means that victims of clinical negligence will have to cover these costs with their compensation settlement, significantly depleting the amount they receive.

Those who begin their claim before the 1st April will be protected against the law reforms. Therefore if you believe you have been harmed at the hands of medical professionals, be sure to seek immediate legal advice. Contact us today at Glynns Solicitors to speak to one of our specialist solicitors.


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