Clinical negligence matters have so far been excluded from fixed costs reforms and do not form part of the changes already due to be implemented in October 2022 (which can be found here).
A separate review has been carried out in respect of lower value clinical negligence matters and the Department of Health & Social Care published their proposals on 31 January 2022.
The consultation document sets out proposals for a streamlined pre-issue claims process for claims outside of the small track valued up to £25,000 in damages. Proposed exclusions include claims requiring more than two liability experts, claims with multiple defendants (where the allegations are different), claims involving stillbirth or neonatal death and claims where limitation is raised as an issue.
Matters would fall into a standard track or a light track according to complexity. Streamlined processes are set out for each track and template documents are proposed.
The proposed fixed costs for each track are set out in the tables below and include provision for an additional ‘bolt-on’ for cases involving protected parties. We would recommend that the costs grid be read in conjunction with the flow charts detailing the process for each track at the end of the consultation report.
Both tracks include mandatory neutral evaluation. The evaluators fees would also be fixed and shared equally.
Sanctions are proposed for failure to comply with the scheme. For Defendants, failures to meet the initial response times would result in the claim moving from the light track to the standard track, or from the standard track out of the FRC scheme entirely. For other failures, a 50% percentage uplift or reduction is proposed depending on which party defaults.
The consultation closes on 24 April 2022 and can be completed online here.
This article was originally featured in our February newsletter which can be found here.