Secondary victim claims for psychiatric injury present claimants with a particular set of difficulties, namely the control mechanisms laid out in the case of Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police (which followed the Hillsborough stadium disaster). In order to succeed, a secondary victim must prove that he or she: (1) witnessed a shocking or horrifying event (or its immediate aftermath), (2) suffered a recognised psychiatric injury, (3) had a close tie of love and affection with the primary victim of the event, (4) witnessed the event directly and (5) was sufficiently “proximate” to the event in both time and space.
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.
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.