Possession of a clinical negligence franchise

Before a law firm may handle claims under public funding, previously known as legal aid, it must have a Clinical Negligence Franchise as issued by the Legal Services Commission.

This is set out in the Legal Aid (Prescribed Panels) Regulations 1999 (the Regulations), a statutory instrument that establishes the panel of authorised litigators who may act in cases that involve, either in whole or in part, negligent provision of clinical or medical services. The Regulations exercise the power set out in section 32 of the Legal Aid Act 1988 (the Act) that states a claimant's right to select a solicitor may be constrained to "solicitors who are for the time being members of a prescribed panel."

The prescribed panel is selected by the Board of the Legal Services Commission, which replaced the Legal Aid Board in 2000. Before a law firm can secure the franchise contract that allows it to join the prescribed panel, it must have achieved membership of either the approved panel of the charity Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), that of the Law Society, or both. This means that, in addition to providing access to public funding, a clinical negligence franchise ensures that a law firm and the lawyers that constitute the firm have demonstrated levels of excellence to the satisfaction of at least two demanding assessment processes.

A person considering a claim, therefore, may be well advised to seek out a law firm that has such a franchise, even if public funding does not appear to be a likely method of financing the claim, as the contract can be interpreted as an assurance that the firm offers high-quality advice and services in relation to medical negligence law.

Quality legal services from JMW Solicitors

Manchester law firm JMW Solicitors is proud to be one of relatively few practices to have been granted a clinical negligence franchise. Its partner-led clinical negligence department contains members of the referral panels of both AvMA and the Law Society, and has been described as being comprised of "Extremely committed and hands-on lawyers" by Chambers' Guide to the Legal Professions.

JMW's team of dedicated solicitors has a long record of securing compensation for its clients, totalling more than £30 million over the past ten years. To discuss ways in which this experience and expertise could support a claim, please contact us on 0345 872 6666 or fill out the enquiry form on this page.

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