Nigel Poole QC explores the implications of capping clinical negligence fees payable by the NHS

If your child were killed by a careless driver, you might think it unjust if his insurer not only fixed the level of damages it had to pay but also the legal costs you could recover. That is what the Department of Health is proposing to do for many bereaved families who sue the NHS.

The government already sets the amount of compensation for bereavement at £12,980. Now, it is proposing to cap the legal costs the NHS will have to pay out in claims up to £25,000, including in cases of fatal errors. It proposes a flat fee of £7,150 for those few cases that go to trial, and only £3,000 if the case settles pre-issue.