Mother forced to end daughter's claim after legal aid cut
- AuthorJudith Thomas-Whittingham
Karen Burk was recently given no choice but to bring an end to her long battle to achieve compensation for her 13 year old daughter, who suffers from spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
Together with another 140 families, she was taking court action to try to show a connection between their children’s medical problems and the epilepsy medication that they had taken during their pregnancy.
It had taken six years to prepare for the trial in the High Court and with only three weeks to go before it was due to begin, the Legal Services Commission withdrew the group’s funding for the claim.
Ms Burk intends to appeal this decision, however if she is unsuccessful, the families in the group action could be liable for approximately £4 million in legal costs to Sanofi-Aventis. The drug company has commented, however, that it will not recover its costs if the families agree not to continue the action.
Ms Burk commented, "It's very frustrating for all people who are told they cannot get legal aid. It shouldn't be withdrawn from anybody – it's there because we need to use it and it's our right to use it."
Along with many others, she is now supporting the Law Society’s campaign, Sound Off For Justice. It’s aim, as stated on the campaign’s website, is to pressurise the Government in to reconsidering the proposed legal aid cuts that will deny a significant amount of people access to legal representation. The campaign website can be found at Sound Off For Justice. As a firm, we at Stephensons are also supporting this campaign.
If you believe you or your child has received treatment which is below a reasonable standard and you think you may be entitled to compensation, we have a dedicated team of clinical negligence solicitors who would be happy to help you. Call us now for free initial advice on 01616 966 229.
By clinical negligence specialist, Laura Hannah