LETTER:Legal aid for medical litigation

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The Independent Online
From Mr Eric Morris

Sir: In answer to Dr Anthony Barton's criticisms of how medical negligence litigation proceeds (letter, 30 January), the Legal Aid Board is, in my experience, extremely stringent in its evidential requirements to allow a medical negligence action to proceed, initially issuing a Legal Aid Certificate limited to allowing preliminary investigation by a suitably qualified medical expert.

It is only after such an expert has confirmed that a reasonable case exists that matters are progressed further and proceedings issued. Even then, there is normally a requirement for regular reports to be made concerning the progress and viability of the proceedings.

No medical negligence action proceeds without significant support from members of the medical profession who are invariably of consultant status. To suggest the lawyers are somehow writing themselves open cheques and allowing unmeritorious actions to continue is grossly misleading and diverts attention from how standards of medical practice and procedure are to be increased.

Yours faithfully,

Eric Morris

Osborne, Morris & Morgan

Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire