Archive posts

When is expert evidence not ‘expert evidence’ for the purposes of CPR Part 35

If a party to civil litigation wishes to rely on expert opinion evidence to advance its case, Part 35 of the CPR will apply to that evidence, with all of the requirements as to obtaining permission to rely on it, the form of any report, the expert’s duties, disclosure to the opposing party and joint discussions and statements.

Addressing the ‘ultimate issue’, the expert witness and the case of David Sellu

It used to be the law that an expert could not give an opinion on the ‘ultimate issue’ which a jury was required to decide in a case.

Consenting a patient – you may not like it, doctor, but ……

The Royal College of Surgeons has recently issued written guidance on obtaining appropriate consent from patients in the light of the Supreme Court decision in Montgomery (RCS Guidance on consent (October 2016)).

Concerns continue as to the quality of medical reports (SRA Report October 2016)

It is a sad fact that medical reports are still not of the quality demanded by lawyers, as revealed in a recent survey.

Bolam and identification of the “responsible body of medical men”

The Bolam test in clinical negligence is simply stated. ‘A doctor is not guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art…

More on the consequences of changing experts

In the recent case of Allen Todd Architecture Ltd v Capita Property & Infrastructure Ltd [2016] EWHC 2171 the claimant wished to substitute a new expert structural engineer, having lost confidence in the first such expert as a result of delays in production of the report.

Probability and proof – the legal versus the medical – legal wins!

A recent illustration of the difference between proof in the legal and medical contexts was given in Bell v Ashford & St Peter’s Hospital NHS Trust (QBD 27 July 2016).

Go to jail? An expert’s contemptuous behaviour?

A judge’s permission is required to bring contempt proceedings against an expert for allegedly providing false evidence

Proving causation of injury by ‘material contribution’ – useful clarification?

The recent decision in Williams v Bermuda Hospitals Board [2016] UKPC 4 is an important statement of the principles of the doctrine of ‘material contribution’ in clinical negligence cases.

Putting the genie back in the bottle, or forgetting what you know!

In Hayden v Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust [2016] EWHC 1121 (QB) the judge was faced with an application made at the very last minute by the defendants for permission to rely on surveillance evidence

The importance of identifying the three different categories of expert evidence

Medico-legal Minder’s interruption to his Australian holiday also included an interesting discussion with Kevin Connor SC (Senior Counsel in New South Wales) about the recent Supreme Court decision of Kennedy v Cordia [2…

Expert reports – too long, too loose

A timely reminder as to how expert reports should be written was given

Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board – A discussion of the new law on consent for medical treatment. Giles Eyre and Kevin Connor SC (of New South Wales) broadcast from Sydney

What does expert accreditation guarantee? The Whiplash/MedCo saga continues

I return from a period abroad to find that MedCo has been involved in further delays and fundamental changes to the much heralded accreditation process which is intended to guarantee a more robust system of expert report…

The two categories of expert evidence and the importance of reasoning

It is useful to keep well in mind the 2 roles that an expert may have as a court expert and the 2 separate, but often overlapping, reasons why the expert may have been instructed. The recent Supreme Court decision in Ke…

Assessing expert evidence in court

What makes for a good expert in court? There are many components. But in the civil courts it is the judge who has to assess the expert evidence and who decides, where there is a disagreement, which expert’s evidence to…

The naughty step – another expert criticised for not complying with his duty.

Background: The previous blog referenced Rich v Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust [2015] EWHC 3395. The judge was disappointed with aspects of one of the experts’ involvement in the case. …

The balance of probabilities, medical risk and Bayesian prior probability

For a lawyer involved in civil claims, the balance of probabilities is the “bread and butter” of litigation and is the standard of proof. For a scientist, …

Fixed costs in clinical negligence claims

The government will consult on plans for the introduction of fixed recoverable costs in clinical negligence claims

So what is all this about ‘quality’?

The randomisation of the selection of experts in whiplash claims was intended to be an important first step in ensuring control of the supposed false and exaggerated claims being made for such injuries.  This would remov…

Better than waving a finger ….

Sometimes it is necessary to state what should be the obvious. So it is that Jackson LJ (of the eponymous reforms) found it necessary

Why should an injured person recover damages from the person at fault?

The ‘Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015’[1] (26th November 2015) may have had some surprises for the economists and political commentators. But it was a surprise that it had a surprise for the personal injury pra…

Written Questions of an Expert in Civil Claims

From a lawyer’s perspective, the opportunity to ask questions of the other side’s expert is a valuable part of the litigation process. From the expert’s perspective, the questions often come out of the blue and at best …

The Inconsistency of Experts and the Failure to Apply the Legal Tests

In a recent High Court case[1] concerning allegations of clinical negligence in relation to a hip replacement surgery, the judge concluded that the Defendant’s expert was ‘lacking credibility and understanding as to the …

MedCo Stumbles On

MedCo, the online portal for the randomised provision of medical experts in whiplash claims (‘soft tissue injury claims’ in low value claims to which the RTA Protocol applies[1]), which was imposed on the legal professio…

Guidance for the Instruction of Experts in Civil Claims 2014

The new ‘Guidance for the instruction of experts in civil claims 2014’[1] replaces the ‘Protocol for the Instruction of Experts to give Evidence in Civil Claims’[2].  Every expert report must contain a declaration that t…

Montgomery and the “new” test for consenting

Until 11th March 2015, following the approach in Sidaway[1], the question of whether or not there was a breach of duty in the manner in which a person was consented for treatment (and the advice and warnings given)  requ…

The Jackson Reforms and the Competent Medico-legal Expert

The issue The ‘Jackson reforms’ in civil court procedure were introduced over the period 2013 to 2015.  Extended ‘tracks’, fixed fees, costs budgets and non-recoverability of success fees have forced lawyers to take a cl…