By: 2 September 2015
Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers criticises short pre-Christmas consultation on fixed fees for medical negligence claims

The Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers (SCIL) has warned that the Government is planning to rush through a pre-Christmas consultation on fixed fees for medical negligence claims.

Litigation Futures has reported that Rosamund Rhodes-Kemp, the vice-chair of the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers (SCIL), is concerned the consultation would be run for only six weeks between mid-November and the end of the year.

“We are concerned the consultation will be rushed through at the end of the year,” said Rhodes-Kemp. “It would effectively only last for a month because so many people are away. It would be like holding the pre-consultation in August, when people are on holiday.

Litigation Futures also reported that Rhodes-Kemp believes that the consultation is premature in any case as there is no reliable data with which to study the impact of the Jackson reforms. “The relatively small number of post-Jackson cases that have settled have shown huge reductions in fees and premiums,” she said.

Rhodes-Kemp, who is head of clinical negligence and personal injury at the London office of Hudgell Solicitors, said that SCIL had taken part in a number of pre-consultation meetings with the Department of Health, the NHS Litigation Authority and the Ministry of Justice. She said that neither government departments see a lack of access to justice in the wake of fixed fees as an issue.

Rhodes-Kemp also said that she was also concerned by Ministry of Justice (MoJ) plans to limit recoverability of ATE premiums in medical negligence cases. She added that there was no clear communication between government departments on the issue.