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Personal Injury Law Journal: November 2013

Jason Cox reports on s69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013

More than 20 years after the introduction of the ‘Six Pack’ regulations, s69 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which took effect on 1 October 2013, is set to have a seismic effect on personal injury litigation in the future. The legal clock is being turned back – many would argue by decades. Whatever one’s political bent (and there can be no doubt that this is a politically motivated reform), all personal injury lawyers need to have a clear understanding of what changes this section effects and how litigation may change as a result.

Christopher Sharp QC and Matthew White analyse recent developments and provide practical advice

Must a claimant prove that a defendant’s breach of duty caused their loss before being entitled to recover damages from the defendant? Your instinct will be shouting ‘yes’. A more accurate answer would be ‘sometimes’.

Lianne Naughton considers the problems that arise from badly drafted statements and provides advice how to avoid the pitfalls

We have all heard of Call the Midwife and, as we head towards Christmas, and the inevitable Christmas specials, we know that such familiar shows bring comfort and warmth at the end of a grizzly winters day and – even if things look a little dicey for a bit – all will be well in the end.

Paul Jones investigates a new battle ground – breach of contract

The law surrounding conditional fee agreements (CFAs) has created all manner of problems for practitioners and judges in the personal injury sphere. Challenges to the validity of agreements lead to a wholesale costs war between claimants and defendants, which was only abated following the revocation of the Conditional Fee Agreements Regulations 2000 in November 2005. Arguments over the reasonableness of success fees was abated by the fixing of success fees in various types of personal injury cases. Finally, the whole basis of recoverability of the costs of CFA was swept away by the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and it was hoped that the war over CFA would finally be over. Not so. The recent case of Brookes v DC Leisure Management Ltd [2013] shows that there is still some life left in arguments over CFA.

Kirsty Allen discusses the Official Solicitor’s role in clinical negligence and personal injury proceedings

The Office of the Official Solicitor is widely known for its work representing patients in Court of Protection proceedings about critical medical treatment. However, the Official Solicitor also performs an intrinsic function of our legal system, by enabling access to justice for vulnerable people who want to bring a clinical negligence or personal injury claim, and who do not have a litigation friend to bring proceedings on their behalf.

Matthews v Collins & ors [2013] EWHC 2952 (QB) Disposal of histological samples; civil proceedings; fair trial

The seven defendants to this claim made an application to strike out the claimant’s statement of case as an abuse of process under CPR 3.4 (2) (b). They submitted that the conduct of the claimant and/or her solicitors, JMW, which resulted in the destruction of histological samples, was unreasonable and blameworthy such as to amount to an abuse of process. It was alleged that the destruction of the samples of lung tissue deprived the defendants of the opportunity to carry out further histological examination, giving rise to a real risk of injustice, such that a fair trial was no longer possible.