There is a fallacy underlying the positions taken by the Law Society and Action for Victims of Medical Accidents (AVMA), as described in The Lawyer, 2 June, which is that there is no middle ground between the two. I strongly support the position taken by AVMA, that medical negligence actions should be undertaken only by lawyers with expertise and experience. It does the society no credit if they suggest otherwise.
However, there are some of us who have both experience of and expertise in clinical negligence work and yet are not on either panel. My applications are pending, but it remains to be seen whether they will be successful. If they are not, it will be because I do not exactly satisfy the criteria for those panels and yet at present I spend about 85 per cent of my professional life in that work.
If the Law Society is worried about the threatened restriction on its members from the Legal Aid Board's plans for medical negligence, surely the solution is to ensure that it sets the standard for admission to its own panel at a level which will exclude only those who are not competent and include those who are.