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PI Focus | Civil litigation costs reform

Many patients will struggle to afford to litigate after April, says Jock Mackenzie, and firms that cannot compete on price will struggle to survive

16 April 2013

On 1 April, key changes to the funding and costs of civil litigation come into force that will have a profound effect on the clinical negligence landscape for patients and their legal representatives. It is difficult to see that these changes will not produce a marked reduction in access to justice for many injured patients, despite the government’s view to the contrary. In particular, the reforms do not seem to sit very comfortably with the findings of Robert Francis QC in his report into care at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust: with an NHS that has recently been identified as critically failing some of its patients, a corresponding reduction in access to justice and proper redress would appear simply to be adding insult to injury.

The changes follow Lord Justice Jackson’s review of civil litigation costs published in January 2010, as a consequence of which the government decided that the recent developmen...

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