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Fixed Recoverable Costs: Practitioner’s view – It’s not just about the money

(Estimated reading time: 1 minutes 48 seconds)

With the FRC regime being excluded for complex and sensitive claims, knowing what will be excluded is likely to cause a number of problems for practitioners, especially within the first few years of the rules coming into effect. Joanne Westbrook from Attwaters Jameson & Hill expressed the following in respect of the proposed changes.

“While I welcome measures to improve health care services, I am concerned that these measures will have the opposite effect. In over 30 years as a claimant solicitor, I have witnessed how legal costs have justifiably been incurred when fighting for patients faced with denials of liability from health care providers.

The monetary value of a claim is not necessarily an indicator of the seriousness or complexity of a case. A vast number of deserving patients have claims that are not worth over £25,000 but suffer terrible medical care. Elderly patients who have no lost income and no dependants may not be entitled to damages over £25,000 and yet the neglect they can experience is terrifying and will not be improved if the health care providers are not challenged and continue with their misconception that they have provided satisfactory care.

By restricting the costs that can be claimed, it quite simply prevents access to justice. Medical negligence lawyers want to do the best for their clients and get them the justice they deserve, but they operate within commercial restrictions and cannot incur costs that will never be recoverable. Consequently, many deserving claimants will find themselves without representation.”

The Temple perspective

With a separate FRC bracket being proposed for claims up to the value of £25,000 it is impossible to state when first taking on the case, how complex it will be and how much work is required in order to bring it to a successful conclusion.

Regardless of what is agreed in respect of the changes to FRC, Temple Legal Protection will continue to assist law firms and claimants in providing competitive ATE insurance and disbursement funding for clinical negligence.

If you would like further information on this topic or to share your views please contact us on 01483 577877.