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Two Excellent Books for Your Shelf - Dr Hugh Koch

22/08/17. Bloomsbury Publishing have recently published two excellent legal books which I would recommend to lawyers and experts alike. They cover areas such as Compensation Culture, Damages, Uncertainty and Causation, all of which are crucial yet, at times, confusing concepts in theory and practice.

Damages and Compensation Culture: Comparative Perspectives (2016)

Eoin Quill & Raymond J. Friel

These editors are both eminent lecturers in the School of Law, University of Limerick, (Ireland) and have collected a number of excellent chapters from experienced lawyers, barristers and psychiatrists in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Europe and Australia. Following a conference entitled ‘Compensation Culture: - Comparative Tort Law reform in the 21st Century” held at the University of Limerick in May, 2014. Its focus was on personal injury claims, marking the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the Personal Injury Assessment Board in Ireland.

The jurisdictions covered have a similar law basis for their tort laws so useful comparisons have been made. The focus of these chapters is on the relationship between compensation culture, social values and tort damages for personal injuries. Its aim was to clarify and reassess tort reforms and offers valuable insights on the Tort Process in respect of personal injuries.

The idea of a compensation culture as a social phenomenon, if not problem, has been prominent in public debate for more than three decades, occasionally in a pejorative sense – these editors and authors have succeeded in presenting a readable, coherent and logical appraisal of this term – compensation culture – and presented a significant contribution to understanding how tort has contributed to a claims culture, both positively or negatively – a significant body of work which is highly recommended.

Evidential Uncertainty in Causation in Negligence (2016)

Gemma Turton

Turton, a lecturer in law at the University of Leicester (UK), developed this excellent book while studying for her doctoral thesis and subsequently lecturing in law at Leicester University. This book undertakes an analysis of the problem of evidential uncertainty in causation, specifically in the area of negligence, although its lessons are also applicable to personal injury and other areas of litigation. It explores basic causal models and issues of proof, including the role of statistical and epidemiological evidence and then focuses on evidential uncertainty per se.

Comparison of the NESS test and the ‘but for’ test is made, with reference also to the Wardlaw test of material contributed to harm. The author brings coherence to this area of law by exploring the Fairchild principle and the idea of risk as damage, as well as the notion of loss of a chance in medical negligence and ‘increase in risk’.

This book is well organised, comprehensive and highly recommended to lawyers, barristers and experts who grapple with evidential causation and associated tests within their own branches of medico-legal litigation.

Dr Hugh Koch is a chartered psychologist, Director of Hugh Koch Associates, and external collaborator to Birmingham City University, School of Law. He is also a visiting professor to the Faculty of Law, Stockholm University.

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