Brighton duo agree on claim payout

Two Brighton firms of solicitors have agreed to pay £55,000 in settlement of a negligence claim by a mother-of-two they represented in a claim against a local health authority.

Julie Carey first instructed Davies & Co and later Fitzhugh Gates to sue Brighton Health Authority for medical negligence on the grounds that doctors at the Royal Sussex County Hospital were slow in diagnosing her breast cancer.

Davies & Co, which issued a writ against the authority on Carey's behalf in 1986, at first denied liability, saying it had no option but to have Carey's legal aid certificate discharged after commissioning three medical reports which found the doctors were not negligent.

But the firm has now joined Fitzhugh Gates, the second firm Carey instructed after a spell representing herself, in agreeing to pay compensation through the Solicitors Indemnity Fund.

The SIF is understood to be still discussing how liability is to be divided between the two firms.

Davies & Co, formerly a leading Brighton criminal practice, is believed not to be trading, following the death of sole proprietor Ian Davies in a skiing accident.

Both Fitzhugh Gates and the Davies estate were represented by Tonbridge firm Thomson Snell & Passmore. Partner Amanda Sleep said she had instructions not to comment.

Carey's solicitor, Sarah Mynard, a partner in Brighton firm Farrington Webb, said: “It was a very complicated case in terms of both causation and quantum, and it took an awful lot of work to get the award up to £55,000. Our counsel, Peter Latham, was excellent.”