Welcome to another of our weekly costs round-ups, this week guest edited by Johanne Johnston, Director at John M Hayes.
John Hyde, reporter at The Law Society Gazette, confirms the government is looking at new ways of bringing down the costs of clinical negligence claims against the NHS – including through fixed costs. The Medical Protection Society said the government must act to stop funds being diverted from front-line services.
The NHS Litigation Authority made proposals for a fixed fee pilot scheme in clinical negligence cases where liability was admitted back in 2013. The scheme was considered by many to be unrealistic in what are invariably, by their very nature, complex cases requiring specialist solicitors. Will this be revisited? Watch this space.
The Guardian reports the Head of legal aid's pay rise an 'insult' to solicitors after fees fall 17.5% in last year. Matthew Coats’ salary, bonus and pension package of up to £225,000 has quite rightly angered legal aid lawyers who are voting on mass walkouts over cuts to fees. The sharp increase coincides with growing militancy among criminal legal aid lawyers, who are balloting this week on whether to stage mass walkouts in protest at cuts to their fees, which have fallen by 17.5% in the past year.
John M Hayes have remained a strong supporter of legal aid firms and fee earners and offers continued support and guidance in maximising recovery of the costs they are entitled to. For more information click here.
Ian Evans, PI expert at Pinsent Masons, advises us that courts have been given stronger powers to strike out ‘fundamentally dishonest’ claims. Courts in England and Wales now have the power to strike out personal injury claims in their entirety if the person making the claim has been fundamentally dishonest, even if parts of the claim were genuine. This is going to put more pressure on the solicitors to make a decision as to the proposed Claimant’s reliability as a genuine witness, or risk not being paid for work undertaken in the confidence that the case is a genuine claim for injury.
Our very own Michael Fitpatrick (Newcastle branch) reports on O’Brien –v- Shorrock & the MIB (2015) EWHC 1630 (QB) here. The case deals with a backdated Conditional Fee Agreement and the re-assessment of a success fee. It’s another stark warning, of which there are many for a myriad of technical aspects, to ensure a belt and braces approach to funding is taken from the very outset and maintained throughout the course of the claim.
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