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NHS Redress Act 2006

Section 8: Legal advice etc

30.This section sets out that a scheme may make provision for free legal advice to be provided to individuals seeking redress under the scheme (subsection (1)(a)). Subsection (2) further provides that a scheme must provide for legal advice to be given free of charge to the patient or other person eligible for redress under the scheme in relation to the offer and any settlement agreement under the scheme. It is currently envisaged that such advice may be provided for the purpose of assessing whether or not an offer under the scheme is reasonable and equivalent to what the patient would have received through the courts. The scheme may provide that free legal advice has to be supplied by a provider included in a list held by a particular body (subsection (3)). It is envisaged that the scheme might, for example, provide that a body such as the Legal Services Commission will compile and maintain a list of independent providers of legal advice, with whom the scheme authority will have made arrangements for the provision of such advice at a flat rate.

31.Subsection (1)(b) also allows a scheme to stipulate other services, including the services of medical experts, that are to be provided in connection with proceedings under the scheme. Such services might, for example, include mediation services or the services of a jointly instructed independent medical expert. If the scheme provides for the services of medical experts, they will be jointly instructed by the scheme authority and the individual seeking redress (subsection (4)).

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