The planned significant changes to the way that personal injury and medical negligence claims are run and paid for continue to be controversial. The latest news is that Lord Justice Jackson, who was the author of the government’s civil justice reforms, has stunned observers by admitting that his view the ‘jury is still out’ on a full one third of his own plans for changes to the medical negligence costs system.
Speaking remarkably frankly, Lord Justice Jackson commented that there did not appear to have been much significant progress on three of the main nine recommendations made in his 2010 report.
Amongst the plans he identified as having stalled, were those involving financial penalties for those health authorities who failed to produce medical records requested by the defendant’s medical negligence solicitor, along with his plans for a management scheme for costs in medical negligence cases.
He also raised doubts about the possibility of drafting the regulations required for the implantation of the 2006 NHS Redress Act – after there had been deadlock in the conversation between groups representing medical negligence solicitors and the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) itself. The NHS Redress scheme, which is currently the subject of an extended pilot in Wales, was planned as an alternative to negligence litigation – the scheme is supposed to allow the NHSLA to offer some other victims of medical negligence a redress package in exchange for giving up the right to litigate for medical negligence compensation.
Whilst giving a lecture on his planned costs reform programme last week, Jackson commented that just three of his proposals had actually been put into effect 12 months of the publication of his report.