“Celebrating the great wealth of legal talent and success within the region, the Northern Law Awards is the law event for all those practising and working in the legal industry in the North of England” http://www.lawawards.co.uk/event/
We were delighted to be shortlisted in two categories; Small Firm of the Year and Personal Injury/Clinical Negligence Department of the Year. This is the first year this has happened. The competition is fierce with the shortlists containing all the top players.
We gave it our best shot in the presentations to the Judges and await the results…
The recent news that the court fee to start a claim worth £200,000 or more is set to leap from £1,515 to £10,000 has left most of us feeling like we’ve taken a sucker punch to the solar plexus. This is of the course the most extravagant rise but all court fees are expected to be levied with a jaw gaping hike! Much like the solar plexus, legal costs in personal injury and clinical negligence claims is a weak spot that the Ministry of Justice has hit squarely yet again. With the decimation of public funding and the new proportionality test that sees costs considered disproportionate (to the value of the claim) and therefore reduced or disallowed altogether even if they were reasonably and necessarily incurred(!!), the doorway to the injured claimant’s access to justice appears to be no longer wide open but just passable.
So, where does this leave the Claimant? Take the example of Mrs A and Mrs Z – both are aged 60. Both suffer an injury during surgery as a result of negligence. Both are left with pain and symptoms rendering them unable to continue working. Mrs A works as a Shop Assistant and Mrs Z works as a Barrister. They have almost identical injuries but their claims for loss of earnings are substantially different. However, in this age, costs incurred in Mrs Z’s case will by definition be challenged to a lesser degree than those same costs incurred in the case for Mrs A because her claim has a greater value in monetary terms. Adding an inflated court fee to the legal costs of pursing a claim for someone like Mrs A is likely to draw significant and merciless challenges on every step taken to secure the claimant the compensation owed to them under the principle that an injured party should be restored to the position they would be in “but for” the negligence.
In some cases the implications of paying large court fees and of legal costs being assessed as disproportionate may be sufficient for an injured party to struggle to find a solicitor to take on the case in the first instance or perhaps to find an experienced solicitor who will act in their best interests.
Paying out a court fee of £10,000 in any case is ludicrous and is a huge burden to any law firm and we hope that this idea with be reviewed and departed from however whatever happens, here at Armstrong Foulkes we will always act in the best interests of every client and provide a proper service of standard to each client.
Did you know that if you are in receipt of means tested benefits and you receive an award for compensation then those benefits can be stopped?
To be eligible for certain means tested benefits the Department of Work & Pensions [DWP] will look at how much capital (e.g. savings) you have. A compensation payment will therefore affect your level of capital and if you have over £6,000 those benefits payments may be reduced. If you have over £16,000 those benefits will be stopped completely.
If you fail to tell the DWP about the compensation award then that is Benefit Fraud.
If you are injured, through no fault of your own, and receive compensation of say £20,000 then if you were in receipt of means tested benefits you would no longer be able to claim them. This does not sound fair does it?
Well, fortunately, there is a way to protect your means tested benefits entitlement. By setting up what is called a ‘Personal Injury Trust’. This separates your compensation award from your savings and it is therefore not included in calculating your means tested benefits entitlement. By setting up this Trust you can continue to receive the same means tested benefits that you were before.
So, make sure to tell us if you receive any benefits so that we can put you in touch with people who specialise in setting up Personal Injury Trusts.
I am delighted to welcome all visitors to our newly re-vamped website. Some of you may be familiar with our old site, which served us well for many years; however we feel that this new website displays features that make it more visually pleasing, informative and easy to navigate than before.
We have retained the important information on this area of law that we wish to pass on to all potential, past and present clients, whilst incorporating new features as follows.
Introduction to the firm
Profiles of members of the team
News about the firm
Case studies giving examples of past cases
Feedback from clients on the work we have done
Video providing information on our firm and clinical negligence law in general presented by Hilton Armstrong & Peter Foulkes, Partners in the firm.
A revamped contact page with map location of the office.
A “Frequently Asked Questions” page providing guidance on issues surrounding clinical negligence claims such as how it can be funded, how long a person has to bring a claim and how we go about investigating.
A “News & Views” section incorporating case studies and company news but also including regular updates on items of interest to clients such as changes to the law or their rights.
A handy shortcut menu on the side & a search function in the top corner of each page
The option to leave a comment on most of the video/news or information provided.
The new website finalises our recent re-branding and we feel the personal video, comment and contact features add to our commitment to “personal care for medical claims” for all past, current and future clients. We hope that you find all of the information you require.
Partners: Hilton Armstrong, Joanne Dennison and Ashleigh Holt. Armstrong Foulkes LLP is a limited liability partnership registered
in England and Wales (registered number OC385318) which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
A list of members' names is available for inspection at our registered office Cleveland Business Centre, Watson Street, Middlesbrough, TS1 2RQ.
The word 'partner' refers to a member of the LLP who is a solicitor in England and Wales. We have a Legal Aid Franchise for Clinical Negligence work.