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Fixed Fees: Fact or Fiction?

By now, most of you will know that the government is considering the introduction of fixed fees for clinical negligence claims of up to £250,000. (Not another ‘LASPO’?)

As things currently stand, there is no limit on the legal fees that lawyers can charge for running a clinical negligence claim, and according to some “this has allowed lawyers to obtain exorbitant amounts from the NHS, with some claiming as much as ten times the value [of their clients damages] in fees.”  Instead, if the change is brought in, lawyers’ fees would be capped at a percentage of their client’s compensation.

There is no doubt about it, the numbers are eye watering.  Last year the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) spent £1,169,506,598 on clinical negligence claims.  Similarly, according to the Department of Health, claimant legal costs for cases closed in 2013/14 amounted to 273% of damages awarded in claims between £1,000 and £10,000; 153% for claims between £10,000 and £25,000; 107% for claims between £25,000 and £50,000; 74% for claims between £50,000 and £100,000 and 54% for claims between £100,000 and £250,000.”  (Though how much of this is really down to the way in which claims are defended?)

Whilst a fixed fee regime may help to combat the rising costs of clinical negligence claims, the new limit would be accompanied by real concerns regarding further strain on solicitors’ balance sheets and access to justice from a claimant’s point of view.  This is where QLP come in.  We are already seeing increasing interest in our off-balance sheet disbursement funding facility in advance of any change to the regulations.  See our website or get in touch to find out more.