On 28 January we reported that the appellant’s arguments were far better received by the Supreme Court than those of the respondent defendant in this case about the appropriate date for the assessment of multipliers in claims for future loss of dependency under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. It was implicit in our piece that the law looked set to change, as it now has done.
At the start of 2016, this very short post seeks to draw out and compare the critical civil legal issues currently under debate in the jurisdictions in which we and our customers operate. At a high level, the aims and themes appear noticeably similar: to ensure access to justice and to reform and modernise the procedures and costs associated with making claims.
One noticeable point of contrast is that whereas a good deal of activity and reform in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland is either judicially-led or follows a report by a senior judge, the changes under discussion in the Irish Republic are much more clearly in the form of political initiatives. Continue reading
In June, in Ronayne v Liverpool Women’s Hospital, the Court of Appeal in England & Wales reiterated the ‘control’ tests applying to claims in which secondary victims (who were not physically hurt by the accidental tort) suffer psychiatric harm as a result of personal injuries caused to someone else close to them. The relevant control tests remain, largely, those laid down in the litigation that followed the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989. In Scotland, the recent case of Young v MacVean (29 September 2015) shows the Inner House of the Court of Session adopting a very similar approach. The overall messages from both jurisdictions are:
- that such claims remain subject to high legal thresholds, and
- a judicial recognition that these controls may not always appear logical.