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Personal Injury Law Journal: December 2016/January 2017

James Healy-Pratt gives a valuable insight into the potential problems practitioners might encounter when dealing with claims after aviation accidents

As a helicopter pilot, I have often heard the humorous saying that an acceptable landing is one that everyone walks away from. However, as an aviation lawyer, the truth is that I frequently represent passengers and crew that have been seriously traumatised by enduring an emergency evacuation of an airliner.

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.

Alexander Hutton QC shares his insight into the revised Practice Direction 51L

On 3 October 2016 a new Practice Direction 51L came into force. It provides for a revised version of the previous Practice Direction 51L in place since October 2015, and for the voluntary use in the senior courts costs office of the revised new format between the parties’ bill of costs for use in civil litigation. The potential sting for those who take the attitude that the present pilot remains voluntary only and can thus safely be ignored is in the Practice Direction at para 1.1A:

Mamta Gupta reviews the continuing developments in the understanding of obstetric brachial plexus injuries

The medical landscape around shoulder dystocia and the cause of obstetric brachial plexus injuries has changed in the last 20 years and the shift continues alongside new medical theory, which is underpinned by international research and studies. Such developments continue to have a direct effect on the litigation of such claims. This article serves to provide a useful summary of the current position.