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May 2012 Summary


Industry News
Summary of Recent Cases - Substantive Law
Summary of Recent Cases - Costs
Summary of Recent Cases - Civil Procedure
PI Practitioner


Editorial: The Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object - Aidan Ellis, Temple Garden Chambers
In Armstrong and Connor v First York (2005) EWCA Civ 277, which will be familiar as a leading authority on low velocity impact cases, the trial Judge was confronted by two apparently truthful claimants, who said that they had suffered an injury, and an apparently convincing expert, who concluded that they could not have suffered an injury. The irresistible force met the immovable object. The claimants and the expert could not both be correct and the Court was therefore forced to choose between them.

Personal Injury Articles

Child Car Seats and Contributory Negligence - Tim Kevan
Lawyers for a wrong-doer are never short of ways of ways of pointing the finger of blame elsewhere and Emma Hughes (by Anne Marie Armstrong) v Estate of Dayne Joshua Williams, deceased (Defendant) and Louise Williams (Third Party) [2012] EWHC 1078 was just such a case. In that case a mother had fitted her car with two child seats. One was a forward facing child seat and one was a booster seat. In the case there was not a big dispute that if the child had been in the child seat the injuries sustained would only have been minor. However, the child was in the booster seat despite the fact that this went against the instructions set out by the manufacturer of the seat in terms of age, height and weight. Sadly more serious injuries were sustained and the Defendant argued that the mother should be liable for a contribution of 25% pursuant to the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978..

When is an Offer Not an Offer? - Sarah Prager, 1 Chancery Lane
The Court of Appeal has recently explored whether, and to what extent, offers must be made in accordance with the provisions of CPR Part 36 if they are to have the consequences set out in that Rule. Sarah Prager explores the ramifications of the decision in PHI Group Limited v Robert West Consulting Limited [2012] EWCA Civ 588.

Whiten v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust [2011] EWHC 2066 (QB): Part 2 - William Latimer-Sayer, Cloisters
In the second part of this article I continue to highlight some points arising from Swift J’s judgment in Whiten v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust [2011] EWHC 2066 (QB).

Whitehall Whiplash DIscussions - Susan Brown, Prolegal
Insurers and the government met again at this month at a much heralded Whitehall summit to discuss, amongst other things, whiplash claims. They seem to be going round in ever decreasing circles. The headlines suggest it is an accepted fact that insurance premiums are £90 higher because of bogus whiplash claims. This strikes me as highly unlikely. There is of course fraud in this area as in any other type of insurance claim, but if insurers were paying out at that level, it would suggest a ludicrous level of incompetence on the part of insurance companies in vetting the claims. No-one actually knows the level of fraud, and insurers, as a suspicious bunch, probably think it is far higher than it is, whereas a naïve and trusting claimant lawyer may think it is relatively low and that most people are decent and honest and will not make fraudulent injury claims, no matter how many calls they receive from claims management companies to whom their details have been passed by their insurers.

The Taylor Review - David Taylor, Forum of Insurance Lawyers
In May of last year Sheriff Principal Taylor began a review of the expenses and funding regimes of litigation in Scotland. The Taylor Review was commenced under the recommendation of the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Gill, to conduct an independent inquiry into the expenses regime of civil litigation in Scotland and its funding in the context of the recommendations of the Scottish Civil Courts Review. With the consultation now closed, it falls upon Sheriff Principal Taylor to incorporate the responses he invited from the legal world before submitting his final report to Scottish Ministers for further consideration.

Credit Hire Articles

The Need to Hire in Credit Hire Cases - Jason Prosser, Credit Hire Advocacy Services
There can surely be few, if any, defences filed in a credit hire action which do not “put the claimant to proof” of need for a hire vehicle. Equally, when the claim involves a prestige or sports vehicle the claimant will be put to proof of the need to hire a vehicle of that particular standard or specification. In the words of Lord Mustill in Giles v Thompson [1994] 1AC:

Local Authority Liability, Edited by Daniel Tobin, 12 King’s Bench Walk

Josie Lawrence v. Kent County Council [2012] EWCA Civ 493 - Daniel Tobin, 12 King’s Bench Walk
The Claimant was an elderly lady who tripped on a raised manhole cover. The evidence at trial was that the cover was raised by between 10 and 15mm. Kent County Council ('KCC') was the relevant highway authority in respect of the section of footway upon which the Claimant suffered her accident. KCC operated a highways safety inspection regime, whereunder they defined 'actionable' footway defects as those which exceeded 20mm in depth.

Medico-Legal Articles, Edited by Dr Hugh Koch

Lie-catching and Deception Detection - Jon willows, Louise De Haro and Hugh Koch
Being able to detect deceit is critical in the civil and criminal justice systems as well as in many clinical and applied settings. We all know, however, how difficult this can be. In a recent paper in Legal and Criminological Psychology, Kristine Peace and Sarah Sinclair discuss how this multifaceted process challenges us all. They investigated whether there was what they refer to as an "emotive truth bias" operating in deception detection such that we are we more likely to judge...

When does fear become phobia? Diagnosing a Specific Phobia of car travel. - Dr Kathryn Newns
The authors have discerned a pattern in post-trauma victims in that those that remain off work for long periods of time appear to take longer to recover from traumatically-induced psychological problems, and in particular mood disturbance. They also find the psychological symptoms more distressing and debilitating than do people who return to work quickly. This appears to be true irrespective of the reason that the person does not attend work e.g. incapacitated by injury, not in employment or education.

Marketing for Solicitors

Marketing your Practice: Business Continuity - Jenny Cotton, Mortons Marketing
Crisis? What Crisis? Be prepared or face the consequences. After years of careful strategic planning and staff training is your practice really prepared? Can plans be flexed quickly? Who predicted a swimmer at the Oxbridge Boat race? Are the University of Delft experts correct that Iceland is due another and much bigger volcanic disturbance than that of 2 years ago? The CMI Chartered Management Institute members’ recent Business Continuity survey results indicate likely issues identified and plans prepared. Is your practice ready?

Article Marketing: ‘If it is on the internet it must be true!’ - Mike Massen, Gartons Solicitors
The decline in the sales figures for newspapers can be directly attributed to the increased use of the internet as a source of information and knowledge; this is reflected by the increased use of on-line newspaper sites. You can use this to your advantage and become a recognised expert in your field of law.


Babybarista: Leveson-lite

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