The number of claims by the NHS Litigation Authority and money spent on litigation costs and compensation have increased sharply over the years. During 2010 and 2011, there was a 30% increase from the previous years, and during the last three years there was a rise of 50%. An increasing amount of money has been paid out in damages and costs. In 2010 and 2011, £729,000,000 was paid out, while in the year before the amount was £650,000,000. The costs are often significantly disproportionate to damages, especially low-value claims. About 75% of damages paid are for legal costs, and clients consequently receive only a minor amount.2,3
Recently, new kinds of arrangements have emerged, such as “no win-no fee” arrangements. In essence, this means that if the solicitor does not receive the compensation, no fee is payable from the client. These kinds of arrangements are likely to be even more common taking into account the increasing difficulties in obtaining legal aid. It is obviously so that these cases are extremely well scrutinized by attorneys, and it is very unlikely that a case with little merit would be taken on this basis. It is often so that these cases are also underwritten by different kinds of insurance arrangements, which further minimize the financial risk for the solicitors.