pnBlawg

the professional negligence blog

A collaboration between Rebmark Legal Solutions and 1 Chancery Lane

Judicial assessment of experts

Fancy some feedback?  The criminal Bar is having to come to terms with the prospect of barristers being formally assessed every year by the judiciary if they wish to continue in practice – under a system called QASA (Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates).  And civil practitioners are warned that it could be coming their way some time in the future – despite the fact that we... [More]

GP’s “reconstructed” evidential account preferred

In a judgment handed down last week the Court of Appeal upheld a decision in favour of a family doctor accused of negligence for failing to refer a very young baby to hospital with meningitis.  In Doy v Gunn [2013] EWCA Civ 493 the complaint was that the GP wrongly diagnosed colic.  If the child had been immediately referred to hospital then antibiotic treatment would have been a... [More]

Skeletons in the Courtroom

When I was at law school we only allowed to produce skeleton arguments for moots if they did not exceed four sentences in length. It was no easy task, but it really forced one to be as lexically economical and phraseologically elegant as possible.   However since, I have been encouraged to be far more expansive. I have thence been lead to believe that a skeleton argument is a powerful means o... [More]

Fraud, forgery and conspiracy: Inferring Dishonesty

“The Bank was just able to put salt upon his tail - and only just.” So says a prison warder in Dickens’ David Copperfield of how Uriah Heep came to be convicted and sentenced to transportation for life for “fraud, forgery and conspiracy” in a “deep plot for a large sum” against the Bank of England. The Uriah Heeps of our times have practised mortgage f... [More]

Is the past a foreign country? Similar fact evidence in professional negligence claims

Is a claimant entitled to disclosure of previous claims or complaints against a professional on the basis evidence of past transactions show a propensity to negligence? The House of Lords set out the test for admissability of “similar fact” evidence in civil proceedings in O’Brien v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2005] 2 WLR 1038. In that case, the claimant alleged the p... [More]

Scullion appeal abandoned

News reaches us that Mr Scullion abandoned his appeal to the Supreme Court the day it was due to be heard.  This means that the law remains as set out by the Court of Appeal [2011] EWCA Civ 693 - that is to say, that the principle in Smith v Bush  [1990] 1 A.C. 831 only applies to ordinary residential property purchases and not to buy-to-let investments.     ... [More]

LASPO - not joining the dots

It has been two weeks since the legal aid provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) came into force on 1 April 2013. More of a whimper than a bang on an inauspicious day. Will LASPO achieve its objectives: to reduce the legal aid bill and reduce the number of claimants who use court as a first resort. The first aim is likely to be achieved given t... [More]

Re-visiting Pilkington v Wood [1953] Ch 770 in light of qualified one-way costs shifting

It is still far too early to know precisely what effect the Jackson reforms relating to costs in personal injury cases will have on professional negligence claims. Given the extent of the changes they are undoubtedly going to spawn a number of claims against solicitors for not using the rules to best advantage. But I would like to raise a different point, which is the extent to which qualified o... [More]

Conflicting medical evidence: solicitors' duties in CICA claims

In Boyle v Thompsons Solicitors [2012] EWHC 36 (QB) Mr Justice Coulson considered the scope of a solicitor’s duty in resolving conflicts of expert medical evidence. The claimant (“Mrs B”) claimed damages from the defendant solicitors (“the Solicitors”) for their allegedly negligent conduct of her compensation claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (&ldq... [More]

Lawyers' liability for costs

  A recent decision of Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart in the Technology And Construction Court (“TCC”) in Webb Resolutions Ltd v JV Ltd t/a Shepherd Chartered Surveyors [2013] EWHC 509 (TCC) considers lawyers’ obligations when drawing up court orders. The Claimants were assignees of a centralised mortgage lender suing the Defendant surveyors in respect of three allegedly negligen... [More]