The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill suffered another setback on 07.03.12 as the government lost three more votes in the House of Lords.
Crossbencher Lord Lloyd of Bewick laid an amendment in relation to obtaining medical reports in clinical negligence claims. The peers voted 178-172 in favour of the change for legal aid to remain. Medical reports in clinical negligence cases can be very costly, and therefore without this amendment, victims who could have otherwise brought a claim, would have been excluded from doing so.
Another amendment laid by Baroness Grey-Thompson was defeated by the Government however, which would have seen legal aid remain available to fund all medical negligence claims.
Although the concession made by Government to allow legal aid for children who have been severely injured from mistakes at the time of the birth, Baroness Grey-Thompson was critical of the Governments decisions to distinguish between children injured at birth, and those that are injured later in their lives.
While the concession may be seen as a victory, more needs to done to ensure those injured as a result of medical negligence are not denied justice simply because they cannot afford to bring a claim – a scenario Baroness Grey-Thompson was trying to avoid with her amendment.