Reforms to control the costs of civil litigation have not done enough for clinical negligence claims, says MDU

Initial evidence shows that reforms to Part 2 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) have had some success in reducing costs for medical and dental claims. However, recoverability of After the Event (ATE) premiums for clinical negligence expert reports continues to create disproportionality between legal costs and damages awarded.

The MDU submitted observations to the Ministry of Justice's post-implementation review of LASPO Part 2, with head of legal services, Joanne Bateman and head of claims, Jill Harding analysing the early impact of the reforms.

The long-tail nature of clinical negligence claims means it is too early to gauge fully the impact of the reforms, but some lower value medical and dental claims costs have halved.

However, there needs to be further change. In particular, the MDU is calling for the abolition of recoverability of costs for medical expert reports, which in many cases offsets the reduction in claims costs brought about by the reforms.

In one case settled by the MDU, it received an ATE premium of £13,000 for a case valued at £20,000.

Initial signs of the LASPO Part 2 changes are positive, but we believe more reforms are needed to address the continuing disproportion and unfairness of costs for ATE premiums for expert reports.

Read our consultation response in full.

This guidance was correct at publication 28/08/2018. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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