Opportunity to revisit the law on material contribution not taken

The Privy Council (25 January 2016) handed down the judgment in Williams v The Bermuda Hospitals Board [2016] UKPC 4. It had been hoped that the Supreme Court, in its guise as the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC), might take the opportunity to revisit the existing law on material contribution and causation, which some feel is in need of reform. This proved not to be the case, with the Privy Council upholding the Court of Appeal of Bermuda’s decision and dismissing the Hospitals Board’s appeal.

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Fixed costs in clinical negligence claims due in October 2016

This week Health Minister Ben Gummer MP dealt with ten written questions from MPs about clinical negligence. His answers reconfirm the Government’s intention to introduce fixed recoverable costs (FRC) from 1 October 2016 for these cases. Public consultation about options and models should therefore be expected fairly soon and certainly before Easter if the October implementation date is to be met.

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Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill

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We have previously reported on Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill and here we cover the Access to Medical Treatments (Innovation) Bill, introduced by Chris Heaton-Harris MP as a Private Members’ Bill, in the Commons, in June 2015. It complements the Saatchi Bill in many respects. Both Bills seek to promote medical innovation and attempt to qualify the legal risks in such treatment. Following its Second Reading in October, the new Bill was considered at Committee Stage on 16 December. Amendments to the Bill were defeated, so it will go to its Report Stage on 29 January 2016 without further amendment.

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