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December 2013 Contents

Welcome to the December 2013 issue of PI Brief Update Law Journal. Click the relevant links below to read the articles and take the CPD quiz. Please remember to fill in our quick feedback form after you have finished.

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Personal Injury Articles
Too Little, Too Late: Robertson v Dixon (In the Milton Keynes CC 19th April 2013) - Max Withington, Horwich Farrelly
The issue of enforceability of a hire agreement is often at the heart of credit hire disputes. It is perhaps a little surprising just how many credit hire agreements we see that are unsigned or signed after hire has ended. This leads to a shrewd defendant citing the case of Company Call Centre Technology Limited - v- Graham Sheehan...
Difficult Decisions - Tim Hirst, Parklane Plowden Chambers
The conflicting Judicial approach to limitation in professional liability cases is revealed clearly in the Court of Appeal decision in Berney - v- Saul [2013] EWCA Civ. 640. This arose out of a mishandled personal injury claim arising out of an RTA on 20th April 1999. The Claim Form was issued at the last gasp on...
Ramifications of the Mitchell Costs Appeal - Charles Bagot, Hardwicke
There have been lots of sound bites from the costs and CPR compliance judgment dismissing the appeal in Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Limited [2013] EWCA Civ 1526. It is the most far-reaching decision in civil litigation since the introduction of the CPR in 1999. Here we look at the consequences...
The Dangers of Unreasonably Refusing to Mediate: PGF II SA -v- OMFS Company 1 Limited - Kate Andrews, Browne Jacobson LLP
Kate Andrews considers the recent Court of Appeal decision in PGF II SA - v- OMFS Company 1 Limited (2013); its importance for those involved in litigation and the adverse costs consequences that can result where a party unreasonably refuses, or ignores, a request to mediate.
Editorial: Mapping the New Landscape for the New Year - Aidan Ellis, Temple Garden Chambers
In the week since the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1537, I have already relied on it three times and been attacked by it once. This editorial does not attempt to address all the issues which arise from this blockbuster case. Instead, this travel guide to...
The Choice of RTA or EL/PL Protocol - Matthew Hoe, Jaggards & Taylor Rose Law
Some claims fulfil the legal definitions of more than one type of liability. In the past, that has been merely a curiosity. But when, as now, particular protocols and costs regimes are applied to particular types of claims, classification becomes important. When a claim fulfils the claim type definitions in both the RTA and...
Case Closed on the Cancellation Regulations? - Aidan Ellis, Temple Garden Chambers
The Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008 render certain agreements between a trader and consumer unenforceable, if the consumer was not provided with a correctly drafted notice setting out his right to cancel the agreement. In cases such as...
Opoku v Tintas - Melanie Mooney, Keoghs
In handling credit hire claims it is always preferable to focus on obtaining clarity for issues where there is a degree of uncertainty for all parties dealing with the claims.
Accidents at Sea: the Limitation Traps for Claimants and Defendants - Ian Miller, 1 Chancery Lane
The Athens Convention is notorious for catching out PI practitioners with its current two year limitation period* for accidents at sea. Indeed the few reported cases on it are mainly concerned with whether it is possible to extend time (Higham v Stena) or whether a cause of action exists outside the Convention (Norfolk v My Travel) - both resulted from a failure to issue in time.
Can a Defendant Be Required to Disclose Information About Its Insurance Position? A Recent Decision With a Sting in the Tail - Jack Harding, 1 Chancery Lane
Any practitioner who has had to grapple with the issue posed in the title to this article will have come to realise that there are two conflicting decisions on the point.
Fraudulent Claims and Contempt of Court: if You Can't Do the Time... - Rhiannon Lewis, 1 Chancery Lane
Regular readers will have come across several articles dealing with allegations of fraud or exaggeration. Indeed, allegedly fraudulent accidents appear to be occupying an ever increasing proportion of the court's time. The recent decision of Spencer J inHomes for Haringey v Barbara Fari and Piper Fari therefore serves...
"Call the Witness" - Lianne Naughton, 7 Harrington Street Chambers
We have all heard of "Call the Midwife" and, as we head towards Christmas and the inevitable Christmas Special we know that such familiar shows bring comfort and warmth at the end of grizzly winters day and- even if things look a little dicey for a bit- all will be well in the end.
Lest We Forget (Our Senses) - Thomas Crockett, 1 Chancery Lane
Personal injury law has a poor image in the eyes of the general public. For many reasons of course, this is unfair. Often it is the overreactions of various (frequently Public Sector) organisations who utterly overreact to potential alleged "health and safety risks". Examples are legion: conkers in schools, blu-tac on walls and...
A Defendant's Nightmare? - Roderick Abbot, 1 Chancery Lane
Sarah Davison would normally get to her desk by 6 a.m., work for twelve hours and often head out thereafter to meet and entertain clients. Sleep felt like it was secondary to achievement. She worked in a macho environment and her boss was a man who, in the words of Andrews J...
The Impact of Mitchell - David Johnson, President of FOIL and Large Loss Partner at Weightmans LLP
The case of Mitchell v NGN is already being described as the case of the decade although it is perhaps more accurate to describe it as the case of a decade and a half as its roots go straight back to Woolf. Case management was a central theme behind Lord Woolf's proposals in 1999: he blamed lawyers for the delay in...
Claim for Development of Partial Cauda Equina Syndrome Fails - John Mead, The NHS Litigation Authority
Bryce v Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust (Newcastle County Court, 22nd August 2012 - Judge Walton). From 2004 Mrs Bryce suffered serious ill-health, including cervical cancer. An MRI scan of her pelvis in early 2006 excluded any recurrence of the cancer...
Lecture to The Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers - Bill Braithwaite QC, Head of Exchange Chambers
I gave a lecture recently to the Society of Clinical Injury Lawyers in Birmingham. They had a very impressive turnout, and it was a pleasure to talk to specialists.
The Mesothelioma Bill - Jamie Hanley, Pattinson & Brewer
Jamie Hanley, partner at Pattinson & Brewer and Labour's parliamentary candidate for his home seat of Pudsey, comments on the Mesothelioma Bill.
Coalition Politics? - Andrew Pemberton, Director of Argent Rehabilitation
It's not just Cameron and Clegg who are having to cope with coalition politics. Last month's Transport Select Committee (TSC) report was extraordinary in achieving some form consensus for the first time. Maybe the principles of coalition government are starting to rub off on the ABI, APIL, MASS and FOIL?
Summary of Recent Cases, December 2013
Here is a summary of the recent notable court cases over the past month.
PI Practitioner, December 2013
Each issue a particular topic is highlighted, citing some of the useful cases and other materials in that area.
Medico-Legal Articles, Edited by Dr Hugh Koch
Review: 'Following a Trauma, Which Children Are Most Likely to Develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder?' (Siddaway, A and Trickey, D. Clinical Psychology Forum, May 2013) - Dr Julie Beavan Pearson, Dr Victoria Byram & Dr Jon Willows
This brief article reviews a helpful and illuminating paper presented in the May 2013 edition of Clinical Psychology Forum in which Siddaway and Trickey summarise their meta-analysis of the factors influencing the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in children. Such studies help to identify and highlight key issues for consideration with the medico-legal context.
Coronial Law Articles, Edited by Bridget Dolan, 3 Serjeants' Inn
Disclosure, Suicide and Unfairness: Learning From Lagos - Neil Davy, Serjeants' Inn Chambers
R (on the application of Evandro Lagos) v HM Coroner for the City of London and Anele Austin [2013] EWHC 423 (Admin).