Proposed Abolition of Legal Aid for Clinical Negligence Claims
Many will breathe a sigh of relief today with news that there will be a delay in implementation of new rules governing civil legal aid. The announcement was made in a written statement to Parliament and moves the implementation date from the October 2012 to April 2013.
The new rules are currently being debated in Parliament as part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. One of the principal objectives is to remove Legal Aid funding for clinical negligence claims.
If the bill is passed it will mean that access to justice for victims of medical accidents will be severely restricted. Only those who have insurance policies to cover legal expenses or who can find a solicitor to take on their case under a conditional fee agreement (otherwise know as a no win no fee agreement) will stand any chance of securing compensation if they find themselves a victim of medical negligence.
There are many still campaigning against the proposed abolition of legal aid particularly for clinical negligence which it is argued must be retained to protect and allow access to justice for some of the most vulnerable in society.
Paula Nash, head of Lanyon Bowdler’s clinical negligence department comments “For those out there who believe they may have a claim arising from medical treatment the guidance has to be seek advice now while legal aid remains in place to fund clinical negligence cases.”