Lai Yuk Shim v Hung Ling Kwok HCPI 684/2010

This was an appeal from the decision of a Master who refused the Plaintiff’s application for leave to adduce psychiatric evidence, for the reason that the relapse of the Plaintiff’s psychiatric illness was not caused by the accident but by her anxiety over litigation - Lai Yuk Shim v Hung Ling Kwok HCPI 684/2010.

 Comment

The wrongful party is advised not to prolong litigation, as it is clear from this practice note that they are likely to be responsible for any psychiatric condition caused to the victim as a result of ongoing litigation.

Background

The Judge in this Practice Note sets out the general principles governing the grant of leave for obtaining and adducing medical evidence. The court, in exercising its discretion:

"Will refuse leave in cases where the causal link between the alleged tort and the psychiatric illness complained of was tenuous, where the cost of obtaining such evidence was disproportionate, or where the grant of leave to adduce such evidence would be contrary to the need to ensure cost-efficient and speedy resolution of the personal injury litigation."

The Judge commented that the Master, on such an interlocutory application cannot, and should not make a finding of fact that the Plaintiff’s relapse was not caused by the accident but by her anxiety over litigation. In any event, if the condition was a result of anxiety generated by ongoing litigation, it should not be regarded as a new cause unrelated to the tort.