On 18 December 2020, the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee published its stage 1 report on the Liability for NHS Charges (Treatment of Industrial Disease) (Scotland) Bill. If enacted, this member’s bill would allow recovery by the state of charges incurred by the health service in the provision of treatment to pursuers with industrial disease but only where the cause of action arises after commencement of the new law. A link to the committee’s report is here. A link to the bill as introduced is here. The next stage for this bill is for the Scottish Parliament to debate and vote on the general principles of it before 15 January 2021. If the bill passes that vote it will move to stage 2 of the 3 stage legislative process. Amendment is possible at both stages 2 and 3. This legislation will have to pass all three stages before dissolution of the current session of the Scottish Parliament ahead of a 6 May 2021 election or it will fall.
In this blog we summarise the main points of the committee’s stage 1 report:
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.