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Personal Injury Law Journal: April 2013

Araba Taylor considers the affairs of the incapacitated in the first of two articles

Clients without capacity present client care issues for all practitioners, not just PI lawyers. Mental health problems are among the most common health conditions, directly affecting about a quarter of the population in any one year. Dementia affects 5% of people over the age of 65 and 20% of those over 80. Where the client has suffered a brain injury, the effects of damage to the frontal lobes can include lack of insight, unreasonable stubbornness and obsessive patterns of behaviour. Issues such as these can affect the ability of the client to give instructions, but may also be difficult to detect. Since a solicitor cannot be retained by a client incapable of giving instructions, it is essential that, before taking action on behalf of a client, the solicitor assesses the client’s capacity to be satisfied that the client has the capacity to give instructions in relation to the transaction or decision in question.

Morgan Cole

Mark Bailey provides a defendant’s perspective of the post-April changes and how these should be tackled

The purpose of this article is to look at aspects of the new rules, potential disadvantages of the new costs management process, and to question whether insurers and lawyers should rely solely upon the courts to police costs. I suggest they may instead focus on the concept of progressive analysis of costs embodied in the rule changes. By doing this, they may then attempt to manage and control costs throughout a claim by a collection of measures to form a process which, for the purpose of this paper, I term ‘collaborative costs management’.

Paul Jones looks at the pros and cons

The main provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) came into force on 1 April 2013 and promise to herald a major change in the way personal injury claims are funded in the future. One element of the new environment is the option to use damages-based agreements (DBA) in personal injury claims for the first time and practitioners need to be aware of this new funding animal before advising their clients of the merits or otherwise of this strange beast.

Robert Cumming gives a view from the Bar and considers the practical consequences of the new rules

In little over three years Lord Justice Jackson’s proposal for ‘a coherent package of interlocking reforms’, designed to control costs in civil litigation, has taken root and is ready to shake the unprepared (and probably even the prepared) legal practitioner from 1 April 2013.

Andrew Hogan reviews the first Court of Appeal decision and if it will be possible to depart from an approved budget

On 28 January 2013, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in Henry v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2013].

Contemporaneous evidence; contributory negligence

In this case, it was held that an allegation of contributory negligence had to fail where contemporaneous reports of an incident had not criticised the claimant in any way, but had instead identified the failings of others.

Georgina Hirsch highlights the main changes

Austerity has affected many aspects of justice in the UK, and compensation for victims of violence is no exception. On 27 November 2012 a new version of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme came into force in England and Wales (although the provision for injuries caused by overseas terrorism will apply in Scotland too). The government expects this to save approximately £50m per year. It may also be that some of the changes in relation to quantification of damages are testing or laying the rhetorical foundations for further changes in relation to litigated personal injury claims.