Proposed Changes to Civil Claims Funding will be Fairer for All Says MDU

Share Article

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), the UK’s leading medical defence organisation, says that civil litigation costs need to be controlled to make the civil justice system fairer to defendant doctors and dentists, but this will not mean patients are unable to seek compensation through the courts.

We believe that the current system is unfair to the doctors and dentists we represent who are funding these spiralling legal costs through their subscriptions and to taxpayers who are funding the cases indemnified by NHS bodies.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), the UK’s leading medical defence organisation, says that civil litigation costs need to be controlled to make the civil justice system fairer to defendant doctors and dentists, but this will not mean patients are unable to seek compensation through the courts.

In its response to the Government’s consultation about civil litigation funding*, the MDU says it strongly supports the proposals to address the disproportionate costs awarded to claimants in Conditional Fee Arrangement (CFA) cases. Costs can far exceed the compensation awarded to the damaged patient such as in the case where a patient was paid damages of £8,000 but their lawyer’s costs totalled £62,000 which included a 90% success fee and an ‘After the Event’ insurance premium of £18,375.

Jill Harding, head of claims at the MDU said: “We believe that the current system is unfair to the doctors and dentists we represent who are funding these spiralling legal costs through their subscriptions and to taxpayers who are funding the cases indemnified by NHS bodies. The MDU wholeheartedly supports the changes proposed which address the problem of excessive and disproportionate costs, without affecting the ability of patients to seek compensation when they have been negligently harmed.

“We agree with the proposal that defendants will not recover costs from losing claimants in CFA-funded cases and in return claimants won’t need to take out insurance against these costs. Claimants themselves should be expected to fund their solicitors’ success fee from any damages awarded and would then have an interest in the costs incurred on their behalf. To ensure fairness to claimants, we agree that the success fee needs to be capped and that there should be a 10% increase in the general damages that claimants are awarded. We think this approach strikes the right balance and hope that the proposed changes will be introduced.”

Further information
*Proposals for the reform of civil litigation funding and costs in England and Wales: Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendations, Ministry of Justice consultation paper, November 2010

The MDU is a mutual, not for profit, organisation owned by our members who include over 50 per cent of the UK’s hospital doctors and GPs. Established in 1885, the MDU was the world's first medical defence organisation. We defend the professional reputations of our members when their clinical performance is called into question. Our benefits of membership include insurance* for claims of clinical negligence and a wide range of medico-legal advisory services.

Contact Susan Field or Dawn Boyall in the MDU’s press office on T: 020 7202 1535/1504, M: 07773 772816, E: fields(at)the-mdu(dot)com, boyalld(at)the-mdu(dot)com - the-mdu.com

*Insurance co-underwritten by SCOR UK Company Limited and by International Insurance Company of Hannover

MDU Services Limited (MDUSL) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities only. MDUSL is an agent for The Medical Defence Union Limited (the MDU). The MDU is not an insurance company. The benefits of membership of the MDU are all discretionary and are subject to the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

MDU Services Limited is registered in England 3957086. Registered Office: 230 Blackfriars Road London SE1 8PJ.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Visit website