As you are aware, MAM has been striving to obtain various amendments in the law with regard to medicolegal issues. Some of these concern capping of civil liability and making frivolous suits more difficult to institute. Parliament has recently passed amendments to the Civil Code. The salient points of these amendments are:

1.Capping of civil damages up to a maximum of Lm250,000 in the case of permanent total disability;

2.In the case of permanent disability that is not total, the maximum will be the percentage disability times Lm250000.

3.In the case of death, the maximum liability is up to Lm175,000. However this is restricted to close relatives/spouse who were being maintained by the deceased or there is a “strong likelihood that would have required maintenance from the deceased in the future”

4. Additionally, in the case of death a maximum of Lm20,000 can be awarded as “moral damages” to relatives/spouse

Although the figures are higher than MAM had been hoping for, these amendments are still an important step forward (previously the sky was the limit!). For example, the capping of civil liability damages has made it possible for MAM to negotiate good rates with MPS. Furthermore most disabilities are not total. For a permanent disability of, say 10%, capping is at Lm25,000. Very importantly, in the case of death only relatives/spouse who were being maintained by the deceased are entitled to compensation. This is much more restrictive than previously.

Other Changes that MAM is Lobbying for:

Chmges in Law
1. Better definition of clinical negligence in the civil and criminal codes. MAM regards this as very important as it will avert much of the baseless medicoloegal problems that doctors have had to face.

2. Amendments in the law so that the employer, rather than the doctor, would be party to be sued in civil cases

3. Better definition of total disability and reclassification of percentage disabilities

It is hoped that progress on these points occurs in the coming weeks.

Medical Experts

The government has accepted MAM’s suggestion to include on the list of court experts only those who appear on the relevant specialist register.

It is also hoped that the medical Council establish and enforce codes of practice for medical court experts.

Stephen Fava,

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