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PI Practitioner, February 2020

16/02/20. Each issue a particular topic is highlighted, citing some of the useful cases and other materials in that area. You can also receive these for free by registering for our PI Brief Update newsletter. Just select "Free Newsletter" from the menu at the top of this page and fill in your email address.

This month's practitioner update considers two recent health and safety appeals before Martin Spencer J. Both highlight the importance of adequate risk assessments. Other important issues were also addressed, including the applicability of the health and safety regulations abroad, and the correct interpretation of the reasonable practicability test.

Bass v Ministry of Defence [2020] EWHC 36 (QB)

The Claimant was deployed in Afghanistan between October 2011 and April 2012. In May 2012 he developed Q fever chronic fatigue syndrome. In August 2014, he was discharged from the army on medical grounds. The Ministry of Defence ("MOD") had completed a medical intelligence assessment for Afghanistan which identified Q fever as an intermediate-risk disease. The Claimant claimed that the MOD had breached its duty of care in failing to carry out an adequate risk assessment. Had such a risk assessment been carried out, he contended, a decision would have been made to switch to Doxycycline prophylaxis for malaria, which would also have protected him against Q fever.

HHJ Baucher found that the MOD had continuously risk assessed and that its response was reasonable. Given the lack of evidence that Doxycycline worked as a prophylaxis for Q fever, combined with the attendant problems of tolerability of the drug, the Defendant had been entitled to keep its existing regime. She was also not satisfied that the Claimant would have avoided contracting Q fever even if he had been prescribed Doxycycline. The Claimant appealed...

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