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Personal Injury Law Journal: May 2011
Plymouth PCT

Dr David Bickerton examines the effect of psychiatric injury

Trauma to the body can be objectively defined, measured and assessed whereas damage to the psyche, while very common and well recognised, cannot be so easily quantified or indeed understood. Despite its common prevalence, this area has not, until recently, been an area of great concern for psychiatrists (it being first officially recognised by the American Psychiatric Association only in 1980 and then only after significant pressure from Vietnam veterans and the National Council of Churches). However, there is now an established and expanding understanding of the psychological effects of trauma to the mind and, as further proof of its credibility, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) produced guidance in 2005. I will discuss the assessment and classification of trauma to the human mind and highlight some possible areas of interest to civil claims lawyers before briefly describing treatment options and prognosis.

Deborah Burke looks at an unusual case in light of the Civil Procedure Rules

Rule 38.6 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides that a discontinuing party will be liable for the costs of the opponent unless the court orders otherwise. Griffin & anor v Smith & ors [2010] looks at the factors that the court will take into account when deciding whether it should order ‘otherwise’.

Asbestos; causation; applying Fairchild; single exposure; s3 Compensation Act 2006

In Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd [2002] the House of Lords developed a special rule for cases brought by persons who contract mesothelioma after being wrongly exposed to asbestos. The rule provides that defendants, whose breaches of duty materially increase the risk of mesothelioma, are jointly and severally liable for the damage suffered by a victim if mesothelioma does in fact develop. The rule relaxed the usual requirement that a claimant had to show that it was more likely than not that the harm that he had suffered had been caused by a defendant’s breach. It did so in order to reflect the fact that medical science could not, at that time, determine which asbestos fibre, or fibres, had caused the mesothelioma to develop often decades later.

In the first of a regular feature, Bill Braithwaite QC provides tactical advice on all the ‘hot topics’

Experts are the flavour of the month. I recently came across a decision in one of my cases in 2005, where the High Court judge said:

Simon Gibbs considers the dramatic consequences of implementing the Jackson Proposals

Readers, by now, will be familiar with the government’s plans for implementation of Lord Justice Jackson’s civil litigation costs review and the further consultation on reform of the county court system. But, if and when these radical changes happen, what will the impact be for those who work in this area, and particularly for personal injury claims? What does this mean for claimant and defendant lawyers and for those who work in the legal costs profession?

Paul Jones reviews a recent case that emphasises the discretion judges have when dealing with costs

One of the central planks of the Ministry Of Justice’s proposed reform of personal injury costs is a widening of the ambit of fixed costs, along the lines of the scheme currently in operation for Road Traffic Accidents (RTA). Whatever one’s views of the rights and wrongs of such an intention, the recent conjoined appeals in Smith v Wyatt; Rennie v Logistic Management [2011] highlights some of the pitfalls and problems with which any such scheme will have to deal.

James Wibberley urges that care be taken when drafting offers

On 16 November 2010, Mr Justice Warren handed down judgment in the case of C v D & D2 [2010], and in doing so signalled the beginning of a far stricter approach to the requirements of Part 36 under which the court will give precedence to the contents of an offer over its form.

Anthony Gold

Sandra De Souza investigates the number of accidents caused to cyclists

It is estimated that 17,000 cyclists are involved in accidents every year in the UK. Facts and figures taken from the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents reveal the following: