Follow this link to read the rest of the cases

Road Traffic
Flint v Tittensor and the Motor Insurers Bureau [2015] EWHC 466 (QB). Mr
Justice Edis found that the Claimant had sustained serious injuries following the
First Defendant’s deliberate act in driving at the Claimant. The defences of selfdefence, ‘volenti non fit injuria’ and ‘ex turpi causa non oritur actio’ failed on the
facts. Although the Claimant had started a confrontation by deliberately
aggressive conduct, and had damaged the First Defendant’s car, he had not
caused the First Defendant to fear for his life or to fear that he was to suffer
really serious harm, and so self-defence could not be established. It was an
important principle that those who commit crime are responsible for their own
Employers Liability
Ford v Silverstone [2015] EWHC 531 (QB)Mr Wilkinson QC sitting as a judge of
the High Court. It was found that the relationship (the Claimant, a friend of the
Defendant, who had been working in the Defendant’s garden for a £80 ‘gesture of
thanks’) was not, on the facts, akin to that of employer/ employee and so the
Defendant owed the Claimant no duty in the circumstances.
Lloyd v Humphreys & Glasgow Limited [2015] EWHC 525 (QB), the deceased
had worked at a variety of employers where he was exposed to asbestos. He had
brought a claim against the first three employers for asbestosis. That claim was
settled. After his death (from mesothelioma), the deceased’s wife brought a
claim against a fourth employer, who were aware of the original asbestosis
claim, but did not engage with that claim. The Court found that on the facts, it
was not an abuse of process for the claim against the fourth employer to
proceed, and further allowed the claim to proceed under s33 of the Limitation
Act 1980.
Dalton and Ors v British Telecommunications plc [2015] EWHC 616 (QB).
Mr Justice Phillips, sitting in Cardiff, found that noise induce hearing loss was to
be regarded as a “disease” for the purposes of Part 45 of the Civil Procedure
Rules and so attract a success fee of 62.5% for pre-April 2013 cases.
Graham v Commercial Bodyworks Limited [2015] EWCA Civ 47. The Court of
Appeal found that a co-employee of the Claimant (PW) had sprayed the
Claimant’s overalls with a highly flammable thinning agent. PW then lit the
overalls, causing the overalls to catch fire, causing the Claimant considerable
injury. The claim had been brought against the employers, as being vicariously
liable. Although the Defendants had created a risk. as their employees had to
work with thinning agents, the creation of the risk that caused the Claimant
injury was not sufficiently closely connected with PW’s highly reckless act. The
Court found that it would be inappropriate to impose vicarious liability on the
Broni v Ministry of Defence [2015] EWHC 66 (QB). Mr Justice Supperstone
found that the fixed costs regime for employers’ liability cases does not apply to
claims brought by members of the armed forces against the MOD on the basis
that they did not work under a contract of service. Helpfully, the MOD
submissions included other cases which might, accordingly, fall out of the regime
including: police officers, civil servants, doctors in private practice.
Clinical Negligence
Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] UKSC 11. The Supreme
Court, in an important case for clinical negligence practitioners, found that a
doctor is under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the patient was
aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment, and of any
reasonable alternative or variant treatments. The test of materiality was
whether, in the circumstances of the particular case, a reasonable person in the
patient’s position would be likely to attach significance to the risk, or the doctor
was or ought reasonably to be aware that the particular patient would be likely
to attach significance to it.
JXMX (by her mother and litigation friend AXMX) v Dartford and
Gravesham NHS Trust (Personal Injury Bar Association and another
intervening), [2015] EWCA Civ 96. The Claimant had suffered very severe
injuries at birth and brought a claim against the Defendant which had settled
subject to approval. At the subsequent approval hearing the Judge had been
asked to make a variety of orders to protect the Claimant’s identity. It was
ordered that the Claimant’s address not be disclosed, but that the Claimant’s
name could be disclosed. The Court of Appeal found that, although each
application would have to be considered individually, a limited derogation from
the principle of open justice would normally be necessary in relation to approval
hearings to enable the court to do justice to the claimant and family, by ensuring
respect for family and private lives. Principles were laid down in relation to
cases where such concerns may surface.
Havenga v Gateshead NHS Trust and South Tyneside Hospitals NHS Trust.
On appeal from a district judge following a costs and case management
conference, HHJ Freedman found that it was not the role of the appellate court to
tinker with costs budgets. Although if the appeal judge had heard the case de
novo, he would have allowed larger figures than the district judge had, the
question was whether the district judge had exceeded his wide ambit of
Credit Hire
Stevens v Equity Syndicate Management [2015] EWCA Civ 93. In determining
what is the basic hire rate in credit hire cases, judges are to search for the lowest
reasonable rate quoted by a mainstream supplier for the basic hire of a vehicle of
the kind in issue to a reasonable person in the position of the claimant.
Michael and Ors v Chief Constable of South Wales Polices and another
[2015] UKSC 2. The Supreme Court dismissed a claim for negligence against the
Police for following a call from the deceased which stated that her ex-boyfriend
had just left her house, but had threatened to return to kill her. The call was
answered by a police force adjoining the force responsible for the area where the
deceased resided. Upon passing the information to the police force responsible
for the deceased’s area, the first police force omitted to mention the threat to kill
and so a 60-minute response was ordered by the second police force (the first
police force having graded the call for an immediate response). The deceased
was killed whilst making a second call to the police. The negligence claim was
dismissed as there remained no duty on the police to protect victims from
potential harm by third parties. However, the case was allowed to proceed to
trial on a claim for breach of Article 2 of the ECHR.
Jim Hester
Parklane Plowden Chambers
April 2015