Legal aid FAQs - clinical negligence claims

Q1.   How do I make an application for a clinical negligence claim?

You will need to make an application to representation higher. Depending on the estimated value of the case, you will need to select which court tier you are seeking a certificate for. 

For guidance on how to submit an application request in LAMS, refer to Section 16.0 of the LAMS Supplier Manual and ‘Submitting an application’ in the Instructional Videos.

Q2.   What information do LSANI require?

Please provide the following:

  • Key dates relating to the client’s medical treatments.
  • A full statement from the applicant describing the events which give rise to the claim cross-referencing to medical notes and records.
  • Whether a complaint has been made to the relevant Health Trust complaint scheme or the Ombudsman and its outcome (or an explanation of why no complaint has been pursued).
  • Detailed statement from solicitor analysing the likely key issues and allegations in the proposed claim, including any likely problems or inconsistencies in the applicant’s case.
  • An explanation of why the client’s condition is believed to have been the result of negligence rather than the client’s underlying condition or some other cause.
  • Details of the proposed defendant(s).
  • Response of other party, confirmation if liability has been accepted and details of any settlement offers.
  • Summary of client’s subsequent medical treatment – including explanation of any delay in seeking treatment.
  • Details of any ongoing medical treatment e.g. physiotherapy.

Q3.   What documentation should I provide with my application?

We will require:

  • Relevant interparty correspondence including pre-action protocol letters.
  • Relevant medical evidence to include notes of first attendance and any relevant GP notes along with solicitor’s detailed summary of relevant medical evidence relating to the claim.
  • Medical reports.
  • Witness statement(s) if applicable.
  • Copy proceedings (if same have issued).

For guidance on how to upload a document in LAMS, refer to the LAMS Supplier Manual and Instructional Videos.

Q4.   What type of certificate will I receive?

Generally, the Agency will limit the certificate to certain steps in proceedings so as to minimise the exposure of the fund in the early stages of the case. Often certificates will initially be limited to investigation of the potential claim under the pre-action protocol, including obtaining the assisted person’s medical records and consideration thereof. It will also include, if necessary, an application for pre-action disclosure, obtaining an independent medical report (with the express prior written consent of the Legal Services Agency - with estimates of experts cost to be provided in advance as required by the Agency), where necessary, preparation of papers for counsel and obtaining counsel’s opinion. As the matter progresses, the next limitation is likely to be the issuing of proceedings, replies and steps up to obtaining discovery. When a limitation has been exhausted, you should follow the amendment request process to seek either a further limitation or a full certificate.

For guidance on how to submit an amendment request in LAMS, refer to Section 19.0 of the LAMS Supplier Manual.

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