Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Personal Injury Law Journal: July/August 2013

Dr Leigh A Neal and Dr Jon Valentine examine the important changes in psychiatric diagnosis

The diagnosis and treatment of medically unexplained pain is complicated by a plethora of diagnoses and differences in approach between psychiatrists and specialists in pain management. The DSM-5 (fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders) has recently been published and this introduces important changes in the psychiatric diagnosis of clinical presentations with chronic pain. The changes to psychiatric diagnoses as a consequence of DSM-5 will be seen in psychiatric medico-legal reports starting with immediate effect. There have also been important recent advances in the understanding of the neurobiology of chronic pain and doctors can now provide some evidence-based insight into what were once genuinely ‘medically unexplained’ clinical presentations with chronic pain. In this article, we attempt to bring some clarity to the subject focusing on those issues most pertinent to lawyers involved in personal injury litigation.

Harry Lambert looks at the powers and duties of civil courts in sexual abuse cases when an unrepresented defendant wishes to cross-examine the complainant in person

This article is divided into three parts. Part one is introductory and historical. It sets up our problem, analysing how the law came to be artificially bifurcated prior to the growth in historic abuse claims. Part two is practical. Given the problem, what – with the law as it stands – can be done about it? Part three alone is normative: it contends for a new statutory scheme mirroring that of the criminal law.

Paul Jones reviews a recent case that considers recoverability of fees

With the growth in personal injury claims over the last 15 years, there has been a commensurate growth in the commercial opportunities for those who service such claims in one way or another. In addition to solicitors and barristers, claims management companies, ATE insurers and a wide range of agencies have also joined the personal injury industry and while the future may be somewhat less plentiful, they have been near ubiquitous in the post-CPR era. Inevitably, these developments have lead to disputes surrounding the costs associated with these parties and the recent case of Charman v John Reilly (Civil Engineering) Ltd [2013] brings an old favourite to the fore once again – medical agency fees.

Thrings LLP

Christine Bunting and Huw Ponting explain the need for a tailored approach

The introduction of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) has shown a sharp increase in the level of professional deputyship (formerly receivership) fees. This is of particular importance to the lawyer who needs to make provision for those fees in a damages claim brought on behalf of a client ‘P’ who lacks capacity to deal with some or all aspects of their property and affairs.

Robert Weir QC discuss the recent decision of the Supreme Court in Smith v Ministry Of Defence

In Smith v The Ministry of Defence [2013], the Supreme Court had to determine three issues: whether the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) had any role in relation to the deaths of soldiers in combat in Iraq; whether families of soldiers can rely on article 2 in those circumstances; and whether the MoD owes a duty of care in negligence for deaths in combat.

Ex turpi causa; joint enterprise; recovery of damages

In the case of David Joyce, the Court of Appeal recently revisited the principle of ex turpi causa whereby a person cannot recover compensation where his cause of action is based on his own criminal or immoral act. This was a joint enterprise case. The first defendant (the driver), and the claimant were engaged in a theft of ladders, when the first defendant drove away at speed leading to the claimant falling off the steps at the back of the van. The first defendant was convicted of dangerous driving. The claimant sought to recover damages for his injuries.