Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Costs of clinical negligence litigation are spiralling out of control, thanks partly to the conduct of lawyers on all sides, according to research published this week by the National Audit Office (NAO).The NAO report issued today (3 May), Handling Clinical Negligence Claims in England, blames claimant solicitors for rejecting attempts at mediation and warns that defendant firms could do more to speed up case handling.The NAO called on the National Health Service Litigation Authority (NHSLA) to assess the performance of their panel firms. Panel firms are assessed every three years. In January the NHSLA culled six firms and brought on five firms.Several firms involved in the review complained that they had not been given adequate terms of reference by the NHSLA, but it denied this.According to the report, claimant firms are blocking NHSLA panel firms from using mediation as a cost effective way to cut down on expensive and prolonged litigation. Only 16% of claims recommended for mediation have been accepted as suitable and not been prosecuted by claimant solicitors.The report states that the NHSLA, which was set up five years ago to handle higher value cases, accounts for 42% of all the clinical negligence litigation that takes place against the NHS, and on average each of the 15 panel firms has more than 300 open files at any one time.Claimant solicitors deny they are slow to get involved. Irwin Mitchell clinical negligence partner John Pickering said: “I have offered mediation, but have only had it accepted on one occasion.”

This premium content is reserved for
Legal Week Subscribers.


  • Trusted insight, news and analysis from the UK and across the globe
  • Connections to senior business lawyers within the leading law firms and legal departments
  • Unique access to ALM's unrivalled, market-leading reporting in the US and Asia and cutting-edge research, including Legal Week's UK Top 50 and Global 100 rankings
  • The Legal Week Daily News Alert, Editor's Highlights, and Breaking News digital newsletters and more, plus a choice of over 70 ALM newsletters
  • Optimized access on all of your devices: desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Complete access to the site's full archive of more than 56,000 articles

Already have an account?

For enterprise-wide or corporate enquiries, please contact Paul Reeves on Preeves@alm.com or call on +44 (0) 203 875 0651


Legal Week Newsletters & Alerts

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your subscription, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters and alerts. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2019 American Lawyer Media International, LLC. All Rights Reserved.