On 15th April 2016 Peter Jackson J handed down judgment in Spencer v Anderson (Paternity Testing: Jurisdiction) [2016] EWHC 851 (Fam), an unusual case involving novel legal issues about whether the court can use the inherent jurisdiction to direct scientific testing of the DNA of someone who has died, for the purpose of providing evidence of paternity. The DNA sample had been provided as part of the deceased's medical treatment. No consent had been given for paternity testing and it was not clear that the deceased had ever known he might have a son.

1. Commentators have asked about the legal consequences of a health service body or other registered person under the Regulated Activities Regulations 2014 providing a notification of a patient safety incident under Regulation 20 (2) upon information provided by an individual doctor.  

Would that material be admissible against the individual doctor in (say) some later criminal prosecution in relation to the same event?

Eloise comments:

“The General Medical Council have this week made a welcome announcement that new guidance on cosmetic procedures will be brought into force from June 2016. This follows the recommendations in the Keogh review and a number of high-profile cases such as the PIP breast implant litigation. The guidance sets out a framework for protecting patients who are considering or undergoing cosmetic procedures.

The provisions on consent will be of great interest to the medico-legal community in the light of last year’s landmark Supreme Court judgment in Montgomery – which is yet to be considered by the higher courts in the context of cosmetic surgery claims. Under the new GMC guidance, the doctor who performs the cosmetic procedure will be responsible for consenting the patient and must not delegate this responsibility. It remains to be seen whether the civil courts will recognise this as an aspect of the duty to obtain properly informed consent.”

Eloise acted for the Thompsons subgroup of claimants in the PIP litigation, has published for Jordans on the Cosmetics Regulation and has experience of clinical negligence cosmetic surgery claims. Please click here for further details of her work.

On Tuesday 24 February 2016 the Supreme Court gave judgment in Knauer v Ministry of Justice, which has completely changed how future dependency loss is to be assessed in claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.

Please click here to read Sebastian Naughton's summary and analysis of the case.

On 25th January 2016 the Privy Council upheld the decision of the Appeal Court of Bermuda to award significant damages to a claimant on the basis that a short delay in operating on his appendix had materially contributed to his injury. The headline is that the doctrine of material contribution survives and that the Privy Council did not accept an argument that the decision in Bailey v. MoD was wrong.

Angus Moon QC and Caroline Hallissey were instructed in the Court of Appeal on behalf of the Claimant in the important decision in Reaney –v- University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust & or. Judgment was given on 2nd November 2015.

The Claimant suffers from very serious disabilities as a result of negligently caused pressure sores. The case deals with the circumstances in which a Claimant may recover for the costs of care when there was a need for care prior to the Defendants’ clinical negligence. Although the Defendants’ appeal from Mr Justice Foskett was successful, the Claimant now has the opportunity to seek to argue before Mr Justice Foskett that as her care needs following the Defendants’ negligence are qualitatively different from those which pre-existed the negligence, the Claimant is entitled to recover her care costs.