Article taken from APIL Personal Injury Law, Practice and Precedents' Bulletin
As we prepare for the summer recess, it is a good time to reflect on what has happened over the last six months or so. The courts have been busy as ever handing down judgments, some of more significance than others, but nonetheless just as important. An example of a case of significance includes Parker in which the court, quite rightly, concluded that in circumstances where the claimant lost their appeal against dismissal of their PI claim, the QOCS regime still applies pursuant to CPR, r 44.13. To hold otherwise would prevent access to justice.
The outcome of a professional negligence claim arising under settlement of a brain injury claim in Dunhill that caused much anxiety among PI practitioners was that counsel had acted reasonably in advising the claimant to settle for an amount that was later considered to be a ‘gross under settlement’. Expert evidence available at the time coupled with the high risk of losing justified settlement.
There were numerous employer liability claims, the most notable of which was the Scottish case of Kennedy v Cordia. The Supreme Court ruled that failure to carry out a proper risk assessment of an employee’s duties can amount to a breach of duty and, therefore, liability for any consequential injury. While in Rathband the failure of the chief constable to warn officers of an armed assailant who had threatened to attack police officers minutes before the claimant was shot was not a breach of duty as it fell within the scope of the rule of public policy that the police did not owe a private law duty of care. In another employer liability case of Greenway and Others, the Court of Appeal interestingly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, dismissed the claimants’ claims as they had suffered no physical injury as necessary to give them a cause of action in tort, and that their claims were for pure economic loss.
A number of other cases concerned procedure with mixed outcomes for claimants and defendants alike. These included Georgiev where the court allowed a new claim to be consolidated with an existing claim even though it had the potential to disrupt the trial date as it was considered cost effective. In Sanderson the court allowed an application for extension of limitation under s 33 where court proceedings had been issued 10 weeks after expiry of primary limitation, although the claimants in the Iraqi Civilians case were not so fortunate. Relief from sanctions was granted in McTear where the claimant had served witness statements 50 minutes late. The court in Hayden allowed the defendant’s late application to admit surveillance evidence, concluding that the overall interests of justice required that the surveillance evidence be considered in the round at trial. While in Foran the court refused to grant the claimant an extension of time for a service of proceedings dispute, there being difficulties with serving the defendants who resided out of jurisdiction.
We shall no doubt have an equal mix of interesting judgments after the summer holidays.