The NHS Litigation Authority has expressed concerns over the high level of legal costs charged by claimant lawyers in clinical negligence claims.

The NHS Litigation Authority has expressed concerns over the high level of legal costs charged by claimant lawyers in clinical negligence claims.

In its annual report published last week, the NHS LA reveals its clinical negligence scheme for trusts paid out£246m in damages to 6,261 claimants.

Defence legal costs totalled£40m, while claimant costs were nearly twice as high at£70m.

It says: 'The costs incurred by claimant lawyers continues to be significantly higher than those incurred on our behalf by our panel solicitors, although we will continue to seek to have claimants costs capped where this is appropriate.'

Overall, the authority paid out over£591m last year including damages and cases where the authority met the legal costs of both sides. This represents a rise of over£63m on the previous year.

A spokesperson for the Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, said it did not feel that claimant costs were unjustifiably high. In a statement it said: 'Claimants' costs are generally higher than defendants' costs because claimants' lawyers normally need to do more work in any individual case.

'Where it is ordered to pay costs the NHS, like any other litigant, is entitled to ask the court to assess them to ensure that they are reasonable.'

www.nhsla.com

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