A thoroughly enjoyable night was had by all at the launch party (held in the magnificent Great Hall of Lincoln’s Inn) of the fifth edition of “Clinical Negligence“, a leading text, jointly edited by CM’s own medically qualified solicitor. CM’s head of clinical negligence Michael Shaw was among guests as Anthony and joint editor, Dr Michael Powers QC, gave speeches describing the book’s history and its at times ‘challenging’ gestation.
Also speaking was John Baron MP (Basildon and Billericay), who has wide ranging interests which include clinical negligence.
Everyone at CM would like to wish Anthony and all concerned the very best with their new edition.
Anthony Barton’s Speech
Launch party address by Anthony Barton
20 January 2016: Great Hall, Lincoln’s Inn
The most exciting and challenging developments in clinical negligence litigation do not concern medicine or law. They concern the politics and economics of funding access to justice. It is inevitably about money.
The last 20 years have seen a change from legal aid funding to conditional fees. It is the privatisation of access to justice. Now legal aid is effectively restricted to brain damage baby cases.
Legal aid was only available to a minority, and the whole system was underwritten by the tax payer. It did not ensure access to justice for deserving cases. Only the wealthy and the economically disadvantaged had access to justice – many people did not. There used to be the acronym, ‘MINELAs’ – middle income not eligible for legal aid – for whom the courts were as remote as the Ritz.
Under the present system of no win, no fee access to justice is available to all, according to the merits of the claims, free at the point of need, regardless of means, at no cost to the taxpayer. The whole system is underwritten by private funding. It is payment by result which imposes financial discipline and commercial prudence. Now, we all can go to the Ritz.
Government figures show the success of the privatised access to justice, with no win, no fee effectively replacing legal aid. Indeed it is so successful that the government proposes to introduce fixed costs in clinical negligence. Change should be embraced as an opportunity – welcomed by the bold and innovative.
If you would like to purchase the fifth edition of ‘Clinical Negligence’ or find out more, then you can do so here.
Michael Shaw’s Contact Details
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