Legal Aid Agency funding of clinical negligence cases
Legal Aid Agency funding of clinical negligence cases

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Legal Aid Agency funding of clinical negligence cases
  • Background
  • Limited availability of Legal Aid Agency funding
  • Eligibility for legal aid funding
  • Merits
  • Financial eligibility
  • Cost benefit test
  • Discharging certificate
  • Exceptional funding
  • Position for claimant practitioners

Background

The Access to Justice Act 1999 (AJA 1999) established the Legal Services Commission (LSC), the body which came into being on 1 April 2000 to replace the Legal Aid Board.

The Act also established the Community Legal Service (CLS). It provided that legal service providers (in the case of clinical negligence, solicitors) who were members of the CLS could, subject to eligibility criteria, obtain public funding for clients in civil matters (other than those matters excluded under AJA 1999, Sch 2).

AJA 1999, Sch 2 provided that CLS funding was not to be granted in relation to allegations of negligently caused injury, death or damage to property. Importantly however, allegations relating to clinical negligence were excluded from this provision. Therefore it remained the case that, subject to satisfying eligibility tests, a clinical negligence claim could still attract public funding after 1 April 2000.

However, the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO 2012) introduced a number of changes including:

  1. Abolition of the LSC and replacement by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice;

  2. More importantly for this practice note, removal of LAA (formerly LSC) funding for clinical negligence claims, save for very limited exceptions, specified by AJA 1999

Limited availability of Legal Aid Agency funding

It remains the case that a claimant can obtain legal aid funding only by consulting

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