AvMA Challenges Plan to Scrap Legal Aid for Clinical Negligence Victims

The charity, Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) has issued legal proceedings for a judicial review of the plan to scrap legal aid for victims of clinical negligence.  They argue that no account was taken of the extra cost to the NHS switching cases funded by Legal Aid to “no-win no-fee” agreements. The NHS Litigation Authority, which defends clinical negligence claims, has publicly declared support for keeping Legal Aid for clinical negligence, and Lord Jackson has said that it ought to be retained. 

Without it some of the most vulnerable people in society, injured by negligent treatment at the hands of NHS (a state body) will be denied access to justice.

The legal challenge is on the grounds that the NHS is an arm of State, and it is the responsibility of the State to ensure availability to redress for victims of NHS negligence.

The proposals to take away Legal Aid (which is means tested, and available to the poorest in society) and the changes to the way “no-win no -fee” agreements look will result in solicitors only being able to pursue the most clear cut cases.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill has had its second reading in the House of Lords only after peers voiced overwhelming concern this week.   Defending the Bill, Justice Minister Lord McNally promised to listen to “strong concerns” particularly in relation to domestic violence, clinical negligence and advice at police stations. 

The Bill will now go to the committee where it will face scrutiny by the Lords, starting on the 20th December 2011.  There will then be a third reading by the House of Lords, before the Bill is returned to the Commons.

Leonie Millard is a Clinical Negligence Solicitor at Forbes Solicitors. For more information or a free consultation please call freephone 0800 037 4628 or contact us by email.

Leonie Millard

About Leonie Millard

Leonie is a Partner within the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Department at Forbes Solicitors. Leonie’s blogs cover her specialism in clinical negligence, especially in relation to birth injuries. She also covers cases against hospital Trusts, GP's, dentists and private practices.
This entry was posted in Clinical Negligence.