Healthcare Brief: market insights – July 2023

A summary of key developments relating to the Liberty Protection Safeguards; the personal injury discount rate in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland; the Civil Justice Council Costs Working Group review on costs in civil claims; and the Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill.

Update on delayed Liberty Protection Safeguards

Implementation of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) (to replace the existing Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards system) has been subject to a number of postponements. In April this year, it was confirmed by the Minister of State for Social Care that implementation of the LPS is to be delayed “beyond the life of this Parliament”.

Responding to a letter received from the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Minister (in a letter dated 14 June 2023, see here) addressed questions that included whether the Government still considered the current DoLS system requires reform. The Minister wrote that:

The Government still accepts the need for change and we are pleased that we have made progress towards introducing the LPS. There was clear support for implementing the LPS to replace DoLS at consultation, which will be a matter for a future government to consider.

Whilst this update may be disappointing for health and care agencies who have been working towards implementation of the new safeguards, providers should continue to ensure the current framework is utilised appropriately to authorise any deprivation of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. 

Contact: Indi Kaur

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An update on personal injury discount rates across all three jurisdictions in the UK

Earlier this month, the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland issued a joint request for views on whether any changes should be made to the range of factors to be taken into account when calculating the personal injury discount rate (PIDR) in the respective jurisdictions.

The joint request for views which closed on 11 July 2023, also sought stakeholders’ views on whether single or multiple discount rates should be applied in the respective jurisdictions, and in the context of multiple rates, views were invited as to a preferred model.

The joint call for views follows the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in England and Wales at the beginning of the year launching a call for evidence seeking additional evidence and views exploring the option of dual or multiple rates. The MoJ’s response is due to be published in July 2023. In the meantime, on 27 June 2023 the MoJ announced the members of the Lord Chancellor’s PIDR expert panel. The panel’s first meeting will be held in July and minutes of this and all subsequent meetings will be published on the new PIDR page on GOV.UK.

Contacts: Christopher Malla, Amanda Wylie, Rory Jackson, Roger Davis

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Civil Justice Council Costs Working Group – report published

Last year, the Civil Justice Council (CJC) Costs Working Group was charged with taking a "strategic and holistic look at costs, particularly given the ongoing transformation of civil justice into a digital justice system".

As part of the review exercise, the group launched a consultation seeking views on four key areas:

  • Costs budgeting.
  • Guideline hourly rates (GHRs).
  • Pre-action protocols and the digital justice system.
  • Wider consequences of extending fixed recoverable costs (FRC).

On 10 May 2023, the Working Group published its final report and recommendations, offering an insight into the likely direction of travel for costs in civil claims.

With regard to costs budgeting, overall, responses to the consultation questions relating to this were positive, with the majority of respondents noting that costs budgeting has proved to be beneficial and therefore, should be retained.

Moving forwards, the CJC Working Group recommends a “one size does not fit all” approach, with initial piloting of any changes before a wider rollout. The following types of claim have been identified as those which may require bespoke costs management regimes:

  • Personal Injury and clinical negligence work (covered by QOCS).
  • Claims progressing in the Business and Property Courts.
  • Other specialist work such as mesothelioma cases.

Here, we provide an overview of the responses to the consultation and the Working Group’s recommendations put forward.

Contact: Lewis Thompson

Related item: Civil Justice Council publishes its final report on costs

Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill

The Data Protection and Digital Information (No.2) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 8 March 2023. The Bill follows on and supersedes the original Data Protection and Digital Information Bill that was introduced by UK Government in July 2022.

The Bill returned to Parliament for its Second Reading at the House of Commons on 17 April 2023.

During the debate, MPs expressed concerns about the complexity of the Bill and implications for businesses, the impact that it might have on the UK’s data adequacy status with the EU, as well as the independence of the ICO. The Opposition also commented that the Bill does not go far enough in terms of ‘fostering a climate of open data’, but welcomed its overarching principles.

The Bill will now enter (on a date awaited) the Report stage in the House of Commons, which provides the opportunity for MPs to consider amendments made at the preceding Committee stage.

Contact: Camilla Long

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