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Rajni Virk, Robert Allen and Oliver Bailey accept Tenancy

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>We are delighted to announce our offer of tenancy has been accepted by Robert Allen, Rajni Virk and Oliver Bailey after successfully completing their respective pupillages.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/rajni-virk/">Ranji Virk </a>commenced her family pupillage in October 2022 under the supervision of <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/louise-mccallum/">Louise McCallum</a> and <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/julia-nelson/">Julia Nelson</a>.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/robert-allen-pupil/">Robert Allen</a> commenced his specialist civil pupillage in October 2022 under the supervision of <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/claire-millns/">Claire Millns</a>, <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/jim-hester/">Jim Hester</a> and <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/michael-james/">Michael James</a>.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/oliver-bailey/">Oliver Bailey</a> commenced his specialist civil pupillage in October 2022 under the supervision of <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/hylton-armstrong/">Hylton Armstrong</a> and <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/bronia-hartley/">Bronia Hartley</a>.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Think twice before making a pre-action admission

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Pupil Barrister. <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/oliver-bailey/">Oliver Bailey</a> reviews the decision in <em>Somoye v North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust </em>[2023] EWHC 191 (KB).</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>Facts</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>This case concerned a clinical negligence claim arising out of the death of Dr Oluyinka O Somoye. &nbsp;In short Dr Somoye attended the Defendant’s hospital for a myomectomy on 28/02/18 and was discharged by the treating doctors on 03/03/18.&nbsp; On 07/03/18 Dr Somoye returned to hospital with severe abdominal pain. She subsequently vomited faeces, collapsed, and suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>Admission</u></strong><strong><u></u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>In March 2020 the Defendant made a pre-action admission of liability primarily based upon the written expert opinion of Professor Winslet, who had been instructed by the Coroner for the inquest. The Defendant then reiterated this admission by letter a year later in April 2021. &nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>However, at the inquest Professor Winslet changed his opinion somewhat and concluded that different treatment would not have prevented death.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The Defendant then made an application to withdraw the pre-action admission in respect of causation, not in respect of breach of duty.&nbsp; The Defendant then relied upon Professor Winslet’s updated opinion and also expert evidence from a consultant in intensive care and a cardiologist.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>The Law</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Under CPR 14.1A(4) a party who makes a pre-action admission may apply to withdraw it.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Practice Direction 14 paragraph 7.2 states:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>“In deciding whether to give permission for an admission to be withdrawn, the court will have regard to all the circumstances of the case, including –</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list {"ordered":true,"type":"a"} --> <ol type="a"><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>The grounds upon which the applicant seeks to withdraw the admission including whether or not new evidence has come to light which was not available at the time the admission was made;</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ol> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>The conduct of the parties, including any conduct which led the party making the admission to do so;</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>The prejudice that may be caused to any person if the admission is withdrawn;</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>The prejudice that may be caused to any person if the application is refused.</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>The stage in the proceedings at which the application to withdraw is made, in particular in relation to the date of a fixed period for trial;</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>The prospects of success (if the admission is withdrawn) of the claim or part of the claim in relation to which the admission was made; and</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>The interests of the administration of justice.”</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>Application</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Master Sullivan thought that the factors listed in PD 14 are not to be considered in any hierarchy, but ought to be applied to achieve the overriding objective.&nbsp; The factors were then considered in turn and can be summarised as follows:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>New evidence. The oral evidence given by Professor Winslet was not new but rather a change of opinion. In 2018 he opined aspiration was the cause of death however, he also raised the alternative view. Therefore, the issue was identified from 2018, pre-admission. Master Sullivan noted that the new evidence now obtained by the defendant was evidence in support of the application but not new evidence for the purpose of the test.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Conduct. The onus was on the defendant to fully investigate matters prior to making the admission. Especially when the expert had raised an alternative view which could support a defence. The second admission was made to spare a full inquest and to reduce costs. Whilst this is something to be encouraged, we must look at the impact in the round. The Trust will almost always be represented at inquest however a family may not be where an admission has been made and costs may not be recoverable. The claimant then potentially loses an opportunity to fully investigate at inquest. In this case it meant the clinicians were not called to give factual evidence.&nbsp;</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Prejudice. The prejudice on the claimant who has relied upon this admission and limited their enquiries and investigations as a result was significant. An opportunity to obtain factual evidence had been lost because of the 3 years since the admission. In addition, the defendant’s prejudice in being refused permission to withdraw was mitigated as they were still able to challenge the extent of their losses.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Stage in the proceedings. Master Sullivan afforded little weight to the application being at the very start of the civil proceedings. Greater emphasis was placed on the application coming some 5 years post incident, 3 years post admission and after an inquest.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Prospects of success. As a result of the two expert reports obtained, the defendant had good prospects of success in respect of 07/03/18. The claimant had not produced any evidence to refute the same. However, the admission was not date specific. The defendant did not provide any evidence dealing with the earlier substandard treatment on 03/03/18.</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li>Interests of Justice. The claimant argued that allowing the admission to be withdrawn would result in claimant’s being unable to rely on admissions pre-inquest in case it was later withdrawn. As such claimants would be incurring expenses to fully investigate matters even when an admission has been made. The defendant argued that to allow a trial on an artificial basis, where evidence is against the admission would not be in the interests of justice. Master Sullivan noted this factor was very much connected with conduct (b).</li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>Decision</u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The fact the defendant now had a realistic defence was a strong factor in favour of granting permission to withdraw. Master Sullivan felt however that this was outweighed by the conduct and prejudice of the parties on this set of facts. Permission to withdraw the admission was therefore refused.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><u>Conclusions</u></strong><strong><u></u></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>This case serves as a useful reminder to those considering making a pre-action admission of liability. Generally, pre-action admissions are to be encouraged. They enable parties to narrow down the issues and ensure the case progresses in a proportionate and reasonable manner. However, early admissions in particular will shape the trajectory of a case and inform either parties decision making. Parties are therefore well advised to think long and hard about the evidence and how it may develop before making pre-action admissions.&nbsp; A party wishing to withdraw from an admission should also act promptly and in a transparent manner to afford themselves the best chance of success.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

£1.3 billion held by NHS for clinical negligence claims relating to Covid-19

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The Covid-19 pandemic placed widely publicised unprecedented strains on the NHS and its resources.&nbsp; For many covid and non-covid patients this meant their appointments and treatment being routinely cancelled or delayed. For those patients who were able to be seen by a doctor, appointments were often conducted remotely by telephone or video.&nbsp;There is now a huge backlog of patients, with a reported 7.1 million people in the queue as of September 2022.&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The feeling has always been that these sorts of issues would eventually have a meaningful impact on clinical negligence claims.&nbsp;However, the full impact is yet to be seen and is not entirely clear. A lot of individuals are perhaps only just becoming aware of the consequences for them now.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>It was therefore interesting to see recent news articles confirm that for 2021/22 the NHS (which already pays out about £2.2 billion each year in compensation and legal fees each year) has set aside a further £1.3 billion in funding in anticipation of a flood of Covid-19 related claims.&nbsp;This is more than double the £500 million that was set aside in 2020/21.&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>According to the reports £470 million has been held for claims relating directly to the treatment of Covid, £610 million has been held for indirectly related claims such as delayed and missed diagnosis cases (often relating to patients with cancer), and the remaining £220 million has been held for claims relating to the administration of vaccines and other matters. &nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The obvious conclusion to draw is that the NHS and NHS Resolution are now expecting to see a surge in these types of cases over the coming months.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Can the new Practice Direction 1A be used to justify a split trial?

<!-- wp:paragraph {"fontSize":"medium"} --> <p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>A brief summary of the decision in Mr AXX (A protected party) v Zajac [2022] EWHC 2463 (KB)</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Background </strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>In 2016 the Claimant was knocked off his bike by the Defendant. It was said that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury and continued to suffer from neuropsychiatric symptoms including psychosis, paranoia, and delusion. The Claimant was refusing to take antipsychotic medication and could not be forced to do so without being sectioned, which wasn’t deemed appropriate in the circumstances. The Claimant’s difficulties also meant that he would not fully engage in medical examinations. </p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The Claimant had partially engaged with his Neuropsychiatrist whilst other experts found it very difficult or were turned away. Without taking his antipsychotics, his prognosis could only be assessed as guarded. The Defendant denied causation of the psychiatric condition in part because of a history of substance abuse. The Claimant’s representatives argued that a case manager and access to independent medical professionals would assist in helping the Claimant to engage with treatment. With causation disputed, interim payments were not forthcoming.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>The Issue</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The main issue before the court was whether the new vulnerability provisions in Practice Direction 1A could be used to justify ordering a split trial to deal with causation first. &nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The Claimant argued that a split trial would provide the best prospects of getting the Claimant’s evidence before the court.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>The Law</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>CPR 1.1(2) (a) requires the court to ensure, so far as is practicable, that the parties are on an equal footing and can participate fully in proceedings, and that the parties and witnesses can give their best evidence.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Paragraph 5 of Practice Direction 1A states that when considering whether a factor may adversely affect the ability of a party to participate in proceedings and/or give their best evidence, the court should consider their ability to: &nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list {"ordered":true,"type":"a"} --> <ol type="a"><li>Understand the proceedings and their role in them.</li><li>Express themselves throughout the proceedings.</li><li>Put their evidence before the court.</li><li>Respond to or comply with any request of the court or do in a timely manner.</li><li>Instruct their representative/s (if any) before, during and after the hearings; and</li><li>Attend any hearing.</li></ol> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Decision</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The Judge concluded:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list {"type":"a"} --> <ul type="a"><li>The vulnerability appeared to impede the Claimant’s participation in proceedings and as such considered PD 1A (5).</li></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><li>The Claimant’s medical condition and refusal to take his medication made understanding proceedings a real obstacle.</li></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><li>At the time of the hearing, the Claimant was too unwell to attend any trial meaning there was no proportionate modification to ensure attendance at any hearing.</li></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><li>The most prominent issues were about putting his evidence before the court and responding to any request of the court at all or in a timely manner.</li></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><li>The judge agreed that to put the evidence before the court included indirectly so, by way of cooperating with experts for the purpose of expert reports.</li></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The judge concluded that <em>“a split trial on causation, leaving possible quantum of damages for later, was a measure which would be proportionate …..because to enable causation to be resolved would stand a real prospect of enabling the Claimant to place his evidence before the court, by making it more likely he could engage with the experts at quantum stage and by also enabling prognosis to be clearer if and when he is able to be medicated….. That in turn was affected by the potential to obtain an interim payment once liability for substantial damages is established (if it is) at a split trial.”</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The judge therefore ordered a split trial.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Conclusion </strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>This case is a good illustration of the interplay between the new Practice Direction 1A and the overriding objective.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>It serves as a useful reminder for practitioners to identify vulnerable parties at the earliest possible stage.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The case is also one of the first examples of how the new Practice Direction 1A can be used in practice when considering very practical case management decisions.&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/oliver-bailey/">Oliver Bailey</a> is beginning his specialist civil law pupillage under supervision&nbsp;<a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/hylton-armstrong/">Hylton Armstrong</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/bronia-hartley/">Bronia Hartley. </a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->