Is legal aid available for medical negligence claims?

 

Since the changes brought in by the Legal Aid and Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, legal aid will generally no longer be available for claims arising from medical negligence in England and Wales.

There are few to this rule but legal aid will remain available in Scotland for the majority of cases.

The current UK Government is attempting to reduce its overall spending and has drastically cut the legal aid budget. In order to make these savings, legal aid is no longer available in many areas, including medical negligence.

Are there exceptions?

There is one exception to this: legal aid is still available in claims concerning neurological injury to children, under one of the following conditions:

  • The negligence must have resulted in severe disability
  • The negligence must have occurred during pregnancy
  • The negligence must have occurred within 8 weeks of birth

These new rules may appear harsh, but the consultation undertaken by the Government indicated that most cases will still be able to proceed through other funding methods.

Many solicitors’ firms offer ‘no-win, no-fee’ arrangements to fund promising cases, and most common household insurance policies will cover extensive legal fees, provided there is a significant chance of success.

You can learn more about this subject on our medical negligence page. It is a complex field.

Under the previous system, solicitors who brought cases on a legally aided basis were required to have years of experience of medical negligence claims. Currently there are no mandatory requirements for solicitors to take on work in this field, beyond the usual qualification to practice.

As a result, clients should take extra care to instruct solicitors who have the right level of technical expertise to take on their case. We can help in this regard.

Contact law works with specialist solicitors and our advisors will be able to find the right firm for your case. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local negligence solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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