That’s the question that is currently being asked by Peter Smith – a senior member of the Civil Justice Council. Speaking at the Bar Conference, Mr Smith [who is also the managing director of First Assist Legal Expenses Insurance] predicted that the forthcoming proposed removal of medical negligence claims from legal aid [or public funding as it is now properly known] along with the proposed changes in regulations proposed by the so-called Jackson reforms, could reduce the number of medical negligence compensation claims annually – from 6000 to just 3000. In particular he predicted that 2000 claimants would no longer have funding to make compensation claims for medical negligence due to the removal of legal aid, and that a further 1000 claims would probably be lost as a direct result of planned changes to conditional fee [or no win no fee ] arrangements and after the event insurance.
Mr Smith also predicted that so-called “before the event “[BTE] insurance premiums were likely to rise by “seven or eight fold”, partly due to the planned ban on personal injury referral fees. He concluded that he could see no insurance mechanism allowing those with” decent claims to bring them” adding that the proposed Jackson reforms and removal of legal aid for medical negligence would have a “dreadful [and] chilling effect”.
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