Bevan Brittan LLP has worked for the NHS since its inception in 1948 and has been handling its claims for almost as long. We are currently on the NHSLA Clinical Negligence Panel in all three of our offices (Bristol, Birmingham and London) and have over 20 lawyers dealing with clinical negligence cases on a daily basis.
This submission is the work of that team and therefore relates entirely to clinical negligence actions, where every penny spent on paying legal costs comes directly out of patient care. Some of the observations made, however, could equally well apply to handling litigation on behalf of many publicly funded bodies.
We have been driven to complete this submission after having seen at first hand the way in which the unjust and excessive enrichment of legal advisors (predominantly on the Claimant’s side) has increased dramatically over recent years to the detriment of the NHS and the reputation of our profession. We therefore welcome the review of the Civil Litigation Costs and its potential to bring much needed change to this area.
We do not comment on every issue raised in the very detailed preliminary report, but have instead restricted our comments to:
- Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs)
- Success Fees
- After The Event Insurance (ATE) and One Way Costs Shifting
- and (in each case) our Proposals for Reform
- Hourly Rates and assessing Costs – a Response to Chapters 8 and 53
- Miscellaneous Issues in the Costs Assessment Process
- Cost Capping - a Response to Chapter 45
- Extending Fixing/Budgeting of Costs – a Response to Chapter 48