Ken Clarke’s Removal Of Legal Aid For Clinical Negligence Cases Ignores The Truth
Yesterday Justice Secretary Ken Clarke announced huge changes to civil Legal Aid, including axing legal aid funding for clinical negligence claims and divorce in order to cut government spending on Legal Aid, a move that has provoked widespread reaction from solicitors across England.
According to Richard Money-Kyrle, a clinical negligence solicitor at Darbys Solicitors in Oxford, Ken Clarke’s double removal of legal aid from clinical negligence cases and reform of the Conditional Fee Agreement funding will simply remove access to justice for many very vulnerable families.
Mr. Money-Kyrle explains, “It is not true that Legal Aid is an expensive way of funding clinical negligence litigation. When a case is successful the Legal Aid board is repaid all of their expenditure in full. Expenditure on unsuccessful cases is strictly limited with lawyers hourly rates paid at significantly below break even rates. Lawyers therefore make a loss on every unsuccessful clinical negligence case that is run through the Legal Aid scheme.”
Under the present regime a successful claim brought under a Conditional Fee Agreement earns the solicitor a success fee. As Money-Kyrle details, “This success fee is designed to promote access to justice by allowing solicitors to spend time, for which they are not paid ever, in investigating genuine personal and family tragedies which after detailed consideration, or when considered by the Court are not eligible for compensation payments. The explanations provided help individuals and families understand the care they received or did not receive and to move on with their lives.”
Clinical Negligence specialists at Darbys Solicitors believe that by removing Legal Aid from Clinical Negligence cases and by reducing or removing success fees in Conditional Fee Agreements, Ken Clarke will discourage lawyers from investigating individual cases of clinical negligence which will leave thousands of families without any explanation or access to legal advice and, if justified on investigation, compensation.
Richard Money-Kyrle is a clinical negligence solicitor and Partner with Darbys Solicitors LLP of 52 New Inn Hall Street, Oxford, OX1 2DN. For more information about making a clinical negligence compensation claim, visit http://www.darbysmedicalnegligence.co.uk or phone 0800 524 4349.
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