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Personal Injury Law Journal: September 2013

Bill Braithwaite QC contemplates the benefits of appointing a neutral facilitator at an early stage in substantial personal injury litigation

This may sound pathetic, but the best read I've had in a long time is the 2013 Jackson ADR Handbook! In his foreword, Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, says:

In the first of a two-part article Jonathan Mitchell and Georgina Cursham examine the issues that arise with accidents on demised premises

This article is concerned with liability arising for injury and loss suffered on or immediately around demised premises. It does not include consideration of liability to neighbours or users of adjoining premises, land or the highway.

Patrick West looks at Opoku v Tintas, which provides some encouragement for defendants

For defendant insurers and solicitors, credit hire can appear to offer slim pickings in terms of quantum. In many cases, defendants faced with an impecunious client have few options to attack the hire claim.

Paul Jones considers recoverability of disbursements in fixed feed cases

With the growth in the application of fixed costs to personal injury claims, one area that remains open for arguments between the parties is the reasonableness or otherwise of disbursements and, in particular, expert reports. The recoverability of disbursements remains subject to the requirements of reasonableness and proportionality, and the recent case of Murray v Smith [2013] examined this very issue.

Julian Matthews investigates a fundamental problem with the compensation available when errors are made by private medical or primary care practitioners

The financial upheavals of the past five years have highlighted a number of issues relating to the compensation of successful claimants: none more so than the continuance of the discount rate under the Damages Act at 2.5%, despite the clearest evidence that a secure net rate of return on investments after tax and inflation has been significantly below that level. The justification for leaving the rate unchanged is, of course, that compared to historical rates of return the rate is low, so that over the long term it is likely to be a reasonable average. This does not help those who were awarded lump sum only damages five years ago, where those damages, if invested in secure investments, are now likely to be worth considerably less in real terms.

Natalia Siabkin and Suzanne Farg discuss the impact of the reforms five months after implementation

The new Jackson toolkit for reining in litigation costs arrived on 1 April 2013, as set out in the Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2013 and accompanying Practice Directions. ‘Costs Management’ is the new concept. Proportionality and compliance, backed by the courts’ powers to give relief from sanction, have been with us for some considerable time but have now received transformative makeovers.

Breach of statutory duty; emergency service; employer’s liability

These claims arose out of a mass explosion that occurred at a fireworks factory at Marlie Farm in East Sussex on 3 December 2006. Geoffrey Wicker, a firefighter, and Brian Wembridge, a retired firefighter employed as a video technician by the second defendant, were killed when an ISO container filled with fireworks exploded during a fire. Many others were injured.