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Personal Injury Law Journal: October 2016

Bill Braithwaite analyses the Rehabilitation Code 2015 and provides practical tips on how to approach its adoption for both low value and catastrophic claims

I remember well when the first version of the Rehabilitation Code was introduced in 1999; we were full of hope and good intentions, but I’m not sure it achieved much in my area of work (catastrophic brain and spine injury), apart from allowing unscrupulous insurers to persuade gullible claimants and their lawyers to have their rehabilitation managed by the insurers, sometimes to the disadvantage of the injured person. It was updated in 2007, and we now have the Rehabilitation Code 2015, which came into effect in December 2015. The working parties that drew up the 2015 Rehabilitation Code included representatives of ABI, IUA, APIL, FOIL, MASS, PIBA and CMS UK. Additionally, A Guide for Case Managers and those who Commission them was published separately, but the two documents should be read together. A significant limitation of the Code is that it ‘deals mainly with the Initial Needs Assessment’, as distinct from the entire rehabilitation process, although it does encourage the parties to adopt the same principles until the case is finished.

Paul Jones discusses the contentious world of CFA assignment

Assignment of conditional fee agreements (CFAs) continues to be a thorny topic in the costs world. With the changes in the personal injury market post Jackson, more and more cases find themselves transferred between different firms of solicitors and this is often done by way of an assignment of the existing CFA from the old solicitors to the new. Unfortunately, this area is fraught with potential problems and has generated a whole raft of case law and the recent decision in Azim v Tradewise Insurance Services [2016] can now be added to that list.

Road traffic accident; foreseeability; breach of duty; Highway Code

Valley Road in Streatham is long and straight, largely residential in character albeit with some commercial premises on it, and it bears a speed limit of 30mph. On a clear evening with good visibility in June 2008 the defendant was travelling home along the road on his 125cc motorcycle. He was travelling at or slightly below 30mph.

Julian Matthews explores a defendant’s liability when there are multiple causes of a given loss

I have written recently in this journal about the potentially widespread ramifications of the case of Reaney v University Hospital of North Staffordshire [2015] (see ‘Reducing damages due to pre-existing conditions: a tenable argument?’, PILJ133, March 2015, p22 and ‘Material contribution to damage’, PILJ131, December 2014/January 2015, p17).

James Laughland highlights the case of Dr Brian May & Anita May v Wavell Group Plc & Dr Bizarri

In Dr Brian May & Anita May v Wavell Group Plc & Dr Bizarri [2016] costs were reduced from £208,000 down to £35,000. Another One Bites The Dust or The Show Must Go On? Failing miserably to resist the urge to include too many Queen song titles (Don’t Stop Me Now), the implications of this decision may well rock you.

Clive Thomas explains how success fees and ATE premiums are calculated

There was a time in the not too distant past when the approval of a claim for personal injuries on the part of a child was a relatively straight-forward application. The role of the court was largely restricted to ensuring that the terms of settlement were appropriate having regard to the child’s injuries. While historically a litigation friend was entitled to recover those costs that he/she had incurred on behalf of the child in pursuing the claim, few such claims were advanced. Traditionally claimant solicitors tended to accept by way of costs whatever they could recover from the defendant. However, things changed dramatically after the 1 April 2013 when success fees and after the event insurance premiums (ATEs) were no longer recoverable from the defendant but were, subject to some limitations, recoverable from the claimant.

Nick Leech and Andrew Sands consider ‘the Brexit Effect’ on compensation schemes

Brexit is taking the blame for much that is negative in the news, often for political purposes. However, the result of the recent referendum may well have thrown into doubt established case-law and the ability of the court to make an order for periodical payments in certain circumstances.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 has updated the law for consumer protection, and liability in personal injury claims. Justin Valentine reports

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (the Act) which came into force on 1 October 2015 is primarily a consolidating piece of legislation in the area of consumer protection, although it does make substantial changes in some areas of consumer law, for example in relation to contracts for digital content. This article is confined to the impact of the Act on personal injury litigation.