Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Paul Jones reports on the timing of conditional fee agreements and the application of QOCS

Transition between legislation is always troublesome. When one regime is replaced by another, consideration must always be given to those cases that straddle the transition from the old to the new. However, no matter how carefully these transitional rules are drafted, there are always cases that do not sit comfortably within the provisions and this truism has shown itself once again in the recent Court of Appeal judgment in Catalano v Espley-Tyas Development Group Ltd [2017], which considered the transitional provisions for qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS).

James Goudkamp and Eleni Katsampouka provide an in-depth guide to punitive damages

Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the claimant for loss suffered. By contrast, punitive damages are awarded in order to punish the defendant for his or her contumelious disregard of the claimant’s rights and to deter the defendant and others like him or her from acting similarly in the future. This article summarises the results of an investigation into punitive damages (see ‘An Empirical Study of Punitive Damages’, James Goudkamp and Eleni Katsampouka (2018) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (forthcoming)). The study, which is the first of its kind in the UK, uncovers important evidence regarding punitive damages. This evidence comports with certain widely held views regarding punitive damages and casts doubt on others.

Jamie Gillespie shares his experiences of trends related to lower limb amputation within the UK and relevant issues when considering this head of damage

An amputation or loss of a limb can occur through trauma, clinical negligence, misdiagnosis or lack of safety precautions. This can have a life-changing effect on a person’s life and prosthetic rehabilitation can be an important part of the recovery process. In this article I provide an overview of prosthetic clinical services within the UK and issues that are relevant when including this head of damage as part of a special damages claim.

Julian Matthews examines how the seniority of the practitioner affects medical claims

While it is trite law that the standard of care to be expected from a learner driver is the same as for any other driver, in FB v Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust [2017] the Court of Appeal considered this issue in relation to clinical negligence claims in hospitals, where the issue of seniority and experience is much more complex and nuanced.

Bill Braithwaite QC analyses the most important cases of the year

Although I only do clinical negligence claims involving the brain or spine, I enjoy reading a wider range of reported cases, because they throw up and emphasise important issues. Here are a few from this year. The case of Muller is really important because, whenever the alleged negligence relates to diagnosis, claimants’ lawyers must be very careful about the use of Bolam and Bolitho (Bolam v Friern Barnet Hospital Management Committee [1957] and Bolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority [1996]). This is a case where the Bolitho indefensibility did not relate to the logic of the medical or clinical opinions, but to the expert’s use of the wrong legal test. The costs case is also significant, because it highlights the importance of claimant lawyers making a clear and reasoned decision about when to commence proceedings, as there is a real difference on assessment between past and future costs.

Rushmi Sethi considers contributory negligence in lung cancer claims in mostly asbestos-exposed smokers

The inhalation of asbestos dust and fibres can lead to a number of diseases. The diseases most commonly associated with asbestos exposure are asbestosis (scarring of the tissue of the lungs resulting from the inhalation of asbestos dust and fibres), lung cancer (a malignant cancer of the lung tissue), and mesothelioma (a malignant cancer of the lining of the internal organs). There have been some recent decisions in the UK courts dealing with contributory negligence in the context of asbestos-related lung cancer claims.

Fixed costs regime; road traffic accident; non-road user; pre-action protocols; public liability claims, simple fast-track claims

This decision provides important clarification as to the scope of the fixed costs regime (FCR) at CPR Part 45.

Paul Jones reviews if a defendant can be reimbursed for payments which are now unnecessary after a change in the RTA protocol

During the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, the democratic government of Athens was overthrown in 411 BC by a coup from a group known as The Four Hundred. Nearly 2,500 years later, a group known as the ‘400 Club’ made an appearance at the Court of Appeal in relation to the somewhat less dramatic issue of fixed recoverable costs in road traffic accidents.