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A Barrister's Role in Medical Negligence

After obtaining the medical report, your solicitor sends it for inspection by a barrister. This barrister will be referred to as your Counsel. 

Ideally they will be highly experienced in dealing with medical negligence cases — if this is not the case then your chances may be harmed.

The barrister will be handed all the details of your case and asked to advise, calling on his experience of past medical negligence cases. An experienced medical negligence barrister will be able to make a sound judgement on the viability of the case based on the strength and amount of evidence he sees before him.

The conference

There will often be a conference which you are asked to attend. Present at this conference will be your solicitor, medical expert and barrister. In this conference every detail of your claim will be assessed and it will be considered whether more evidence is needed, and whether you are equipped emotionally to give evidence in a court room. The risks of the claim will also be considered.

Your counsel will consider whether any precedent has been made by previous cases which may affect your claim. Normally he will give his opinion on this in written form after the event.

Deciding on the viability of your claim

Based on the opinion of counsel, your solicitor will be in a position to advise you on how likely your claim is to succeed. If the solicitor advises against claiming at this stage it is probably wise to do so given the rigorous discussion that has taken place between legal and medical experts already.

If you do continue with your claim in such circumstances then it is likely that your public funding will be withdrawn. If you are in a conditional fee agreement with your solicitor then it will probably contain a clause which allows the solicitor to opt out at this stage.