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Personal Injury Law Journal: May 2013

Bill Braithwaite QC considers what issues arise when there is evidence to suggest a claimant may not have been wearing a seat belt

Seat belt issues never really go away. The theory is simple and straightforward, but there’s nothing like a wide range of facts to complicate simplicity!

Patrick Limb QC examines the decision in the appeal case of IEG v Zurich

The facts of the case are that Mr Alan Carré worked for 27 years until 31 December 1988 for Guernsey Gas Light Co Ltd, a predecessor of the claimant (IEG). For the last six years of that period IEG was insured under a standard form of employer’s liability policy by a company whose liabilities have been absorbed by the defendant (Zurich).

In her concluding article, Araba Taylor looks at issues that arise following personal injury

Clients without capacity can present complex issues of property management for their lawyers. Firstly, their property will comprise whatever they have owned prior to their injury or illness, together with property acquired later, through inheritance for example, but also funds comprising damages and CICA awards. The client may also own a business and have transactions in progress, which need to be completed, such as the discharge of personal or business debts. Secondly, any act done, or decision made for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests (s1(5) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005)). On each occasion when a particular transaction is under consideration, the capacity assessment under s2(1) MCA 2005 needs to be made, including an assessment of his capacity to understand the information relevant to the decision, retain that information, use and weigh it as part of the decision-making process and, finally, to communicate his decision (s3 MCA 2005).

Richard Lodge and Raoul Lumb discuss the impact of the Act on clinical negligence cases

As an area of law largely focused on narratives of harm befalling individuals at the hands of a state funded and controlled body, it is perhaps surprising that Human Rights considerations do not feature more regularly, and more prominently, in clinical negligence litigation. Indeed, so rare are their impact that, for many practitioners in the area, knowledge of the interplay between traditional negligence remedies and less orthodox human rights-based claims will be considered somewhat esoteric.

In conclusion to his two-part article, Julian Matthews reports upon a further recent decision in this complex area of medicine and law, and reflects upon whether similar cases can still be pursued given the recent changes to the rules on costs

My last article for the Personal Injury Law Journal concerned awards of damages for negligence leading to a delay in the diagnosis of cancer and, in particular, a review of the approach taken by Mr Justice Bean in the case of JD v Mather [2012], where damages were awarded for a three-year reduction in overall life expectancy consequent upon such a delay.

Third-party cost orders; disclosure

On 10 April 2013 the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the conjoined appeals in Flatman v Germany and Weddall v Barchester Health Care [2013]. The appeal addressed the issue of third-party costs orders against solicitors. Rix LJ had taken the unusual step of allowing second appeals in what was ostensibly an appeal about disclosure, because of the impact it would have on the thorny issue of solicitors’ exposure for non-party costs.

Paul Jones reviews the transitional arrangements relating to detailed assessment of costs

The 1 April reforms have heralded a great many changes to the rules dealing with legal costs; some major and some less so. One change that appears relatively minor at first glance is in relation to the costs of detailed assessment and costs offers, formerly contained in CPR 47.18 and 47.19, but now, confusingly, moved to CPR 47.20. The true position, however, is very far from a simple change of numbering.