Cap to control disproportionate legal costs in clinical negligence claims is an important first step, says MDU

We welcome the government announcement on capping legal fees.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has welcomed the announcement by the government that it is to cap legal costs in lower value clinical negligence cases. The leading not for profit indemnifier says this is likely to make some impact on disproportionate legal costs.

Dr Claire Wratten, senior medical claim handler at the MDU, said:

"We welcome that the government has finally responded to this much anticipated consultation, however, this development should only ever be seen as the start.

"The MDU has always believed that for this scheme to have a meaningful impact on rising clinical negligence costs, it should be far more ambitious. Rather than just applying to claims up to £25,000, it should include claims up to £250,000.

"However, this is an important first step given that disproportionate legal costs are one of several defects in the current litigation system and affect lower value claims.

"In MDU cases, during 2022 the average sum paid in claimants' legal costs on medical claims settled for up to £10,000 was over £24,000, while for claims settled between £10,000 and £25,000, the average was around £46,000. It cannot be right for legal costs paid to claimants' lawyers to regularly exceed the damages paid to claimants."

This page was correct at publication on 15/09/2023. Any guidance 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.