MDU hails fee cap in negligence

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has welcomed a Govern­ment announcement that it is to cap legal costs in lower value clinical negligence cases. 

But the defence body will campaign for this to be just the start.

Dr Claire Wratten

Senior medical claim handler Dr Claire Wratten said: ‘The MDU has always believed that for this scheme to have a meaningful impact on rising clinical negligence costs, it should be far more ambitious. Rather than just applying to claims up to £25,000, it should include claims up to £250,000. 

‘However, this is an important first step given that disproportionate legal costs are one of several defects in the current litigation system and affect lower value claims.’ 

In MDU cases last year, the average sum paid in claimants’ legal costs on medical claims settled for up to £10,000 was over £24,000. The average for claims settled between £10,000 and £25,000 was around £46,000. 

Dr Wratten added: ‘It cannot be right for legal costs paid to claimants’ lawyers to regularly exceed the damages paid to claimants.’