The highest court will once again consider the basis and application of the doctrine that no recovery should flow from illegal acts (often cited in Latin as the ex turpi causa rule), something which has been before the Supreme Court on several occasions in recent years in very different factual settings. The latest case involves a claim by a psychiatric patient against an NHS Trust for losses arising from the death of her mother. She had killed her mother while under the Trust’s care and it was agreed this would not have happened but for failings in the care provided to her. Seven Justices will hear the case by video conference in mid-May.
Vicki Swanton’s recent blog towards the end of January took a broad look at a range of factors at work in influencing the increasing cost of clinical negligence claims and outlined some of the initiatives underway to address this. Further data on the rising burden of clinical negligence in England emerged earlier this week in the written Parliamentary answer set out below.
The orthodox answer to this question is no, on the basis that it is the peculiarities of the facts which give rise to the outcome, rather than any new legal approach. In two decisions this week in the tort of negligence, the clinical claim Darnley in the Supreme Court and the vicarious liability claim Bellman in the Court of Appeal, the higher Courts worked from the initial findings of fact and applied the existing law to them to drive different outcomes from those reached in the courts below.