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Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Paul Jones discusses the degree judges are bound by the approved costs budget

Costs budgets were a central pillar of Lord Justice Jackson’s civil litigation reforms with the stated intention that they would deliver predictable, proportionate costs to all. However, while one could argue that the need to prepare costs budgets at an early stage certainly focuses the mind on costs, even the most ardent supporter would be hard pressed to believe that they have been an unmitigated success as they have undoubtedly caused serious delays in the courts and have not delivered the expected rewards of more proportionate costs. Case law on the subject is relatively sparse but the recent decision of a regional costs judge in Merrix v Heart of England NHS Trust [2016] gives an excellent reminder of the role of costs budgets within the broader context of costs control and case management generally.

Philippa Barton investigates the risks and pitfalls of sending damages to vulnerable clients

Most personal injury practitioners will at some time or another act for vulnerable clients such as those with head injuries, learning disabilities or mental illness. While these clients may have enough capacity to give instructions on the conduct of their claim and any settlement offers, this does not necessarily mean they have the capacity needed to manage large sums of money.

The High Court has ruled that a claimant’s part 36 offer was a counter offer, consequently an earlier without prejudice offer was no longer open for acceptance. Gemma Witherington reports

In the case of DB UK Bank Ltd (T/A DB Mortgages) v Jacobs Solicitors [2016] it was held that a party who made a Part 36 offer in response to a ‘without prejudice save as to costs’ offer had in law rejected the common law offer to settle and so a subsequent acceptance was not possible.

Contributory negligence; Occupiers Liability Act 1984; dangerous state of premises

On the 10 September 2010, while wheeling his bicycle across an ornamental footbridge in one of the defendant’s public parks, the claimant fell from the bridge into the stream below and suffered serious injury.

Paul Sankey highlights the ongoing implications of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board

A very significant change in the law took place in March 2015 which has serious implications for doctors discussing options for treatment with patients and obtaining consent for them. The case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] is now familiar law for practitioners in the field. It redefined the legal relationship between doctors and patients. It is surprising, however, how little the implications have been tested in subsequent case law. However more than a year on it is appropriate to consider the impact of the decision both in terms of the law and medical practice.

Charlotte Robinson-Jones provides practical advice on making applications

Whether it is agreeing to extend a deadline by consent, asking for permission to rely on expert evidence or that unfortunate situation when something goes wrong, applications will be required in a significant percentage of issued cases.

Paul Sankey examines the issues in Dr Sido John v Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The recent case of Dr Sido John v Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2016] is a further recent example of a claimant establishing causation and recovering in full despite not being able to show that but for negligence he would have avoided injury. It rejects the notion that only one mechanism of damage or apportionment between the negligent and non-negligent causes is appropriate.

Rushmi Sethi considers the association between trauma and chronic widespread pain

The High Court case of Murphy v Ministry of Defence [2016] clarifies how the courts approach the issue of chronic widespread pain. The analysis of the claimant’s expert evidence was accepted by the court, including their view that the claimant’s symptoms arose from the original work accident.