The second quarter of 2017 has continued to be busy in the field of medical negligence. The Ministry of Justice consultation on fixed costs, coupled with Lord Justice Jackson's wider review on costs in civil litigation, remain outstanding. Further details on fixed costs are expected by the end of July 2017 although Lord Justice Jackson has indicated that a pilot scheme will be adopted in respect of claims worth up to £80,000 (significantly this excludes clinical/medical negligence cases).
The review and consultation into the way in which the discount rate is calculated, and the calculation of damages more generally, are both outstanding with no dates set for publication of the response to these consultations.
There has, however, continued to be a flurry of cases within the field of medical negligence. During the second quarter of 2017 (April-June) there have been 8 judicial decisions. 5 of which have been heard at Court of Appeal level, 2 by a trial judge and 1 procedural decision of Master Cook, Master of the Queen's Bench Division at the Royal Courts of Justice, London. These cases have covered a wide variety of topics including breach of duty and causation and the evolving law of consent. We have also seen the first significant decision on quantum following the recent change of the discount rate where the feasibility of the Roberts -v- Johnstone approach has been considered. The long awaited costs decision of Harrison was also handed down by the Court of Appeal dealing with the interplay between the Detailed Assessment process and Costs Budgeting.
As was the case during the first quarter of 2017, the policy and law surrounding medical negligence continues to evolve and remains under the spotlight. This area of law continues to be packed with consultations and decisions that will challenge medical negligence practitioners. For further details of the Court's decisions handed down during the past three months click here.