Motor insurance: Infrastructure Minister takes steps to remove Vnuk decision from NI law

This morning Nichola Mallon MLA appeared before the NI Assembly’s Infrastructure Committee to discuss (inter alia) reforming motor insurance law in NI to re-set it back to the position that had applied before the wide approach that the European Court adopted in 2014 in Vnuk v Zararovalnica.

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No change to the law on secondary psychiatric harm claims [for the time being?]

Yesterday the Court of Appeal dismissed appeals in three joined cases concerning medical negligence and secondary psychiatric harm. The novel point involved was the separation in time between the alleged negligent act or omission and the secondary victims’ perception of harm caused to the primary victim to whom they had a close tie of love and affection.

That temporal separation has led to some debate about the ‘event’ that has to be perceived by the secondary victim in order for his or her claim to succeed. That inquiry takes matters into the technical detail of the five elements of the legal control mechanisms applicable to such claims, which themselves stem from litigation relating to the Hillsborough stadium disaster over thirty years ago. The dismissal of the present claims may not be the end of the road, however, given that the Court appeared minded to give permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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Vicarious liability: decisions this week in the contexts of sexual abuse and ‘horseplay’ at work

Two decisions this week in very different contexts reinforce the legal tests and factual limits of vicarious liability in negligence claims and show the careful application in practice of the two part test that was most recently refined by the Supreme Court in the duo of cases, Barclays Bank and Morrisons, decided on the same day in April 2020.

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