What is a settlement meeting?

Although issuing a legal claim may ultimately result in a formal trial, the vast majority of issued claims are resolved (or compromised) without a trial being required. One increasingly common method of compromise is for the parties to hold a settlement meeting.

What is a settlement meeting?

A settlement meeting (which can be held in person or remotely) is intended to explore the possibility of settlement of a legal claim and to see whether the claim can be compromised at a mutually satisfactory level, taking account of the nature, extent and strength of the claim and the appropriate level of litigation risk faced by both parties. It is intended to avoid the uncertainty of proceeding to trial. 

When does a settlement meeting take place?

A settlement meeting usually, but not always, takes place once the parties have exchanged evidence relating to the claim – this enables both parties to more accurately assess and advise in light of the evidence that has been disclosed. A settlement meeting can, however, take place before legal proceedings are issued.

What happens at a settlement meeting?

This typically takes place between the parties’ legal teams with the parties themselves also either present or contactable to provide instructions. The usual format is for each party to have their own private room for discussion, and a further room available for joint discussions which are usually held between the parties’ legal representatives.

  • There can be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the joint and private sessions with legal arguments and offers being made by both parties.
  • If settlement is agreed, the parties will document the agreed terms (Court approval will then be sought in appropriate cases) and the need for a trial will be avoided.
  • The meeting is held on a “without prejudice” basis, meaning that concessions or offers made during the meeting cannot be used as evidence in Court if the claim were to proceed to trial.
  • There’s no obligation for a Claimant to meet the Defendants face to face (although they often do so if a settlement can be agreed), but being present on the day and involved in the negotiation process means there is usually a significant degree of satisfaction and more appropriate closure for Claimants, whose focus will necessarily have been on their loss and subsequent claim for a considerable period of time – often over many years.
  • Settlement brings the certainty of a positive outcome, thereby helping to enable any Claimant to move forward, rather than continuing to face the stress and uncertainty of a trial.

How can Moore Barlow help?

Our team of specialist medical negligence lawyers has been hand-picked for their specific skills and technical competence in the area of medical negligence claims.

Reaching a successful outcome demands not only expert medical negligence law knowledge but also an understanding of how the NHS and medical defence organisations arrive at settlement decisions.

Get in touch with our medical negligence team for support.