Medical practitioner – Negligence. The claimant sought damages for alleged clinical negligence, resulting in a delayed diagnosis of *** cancer. The Queen's Bench Division, in dismissing the claim, held that the defendant's consultant *** surgeon, who had seen the claimant at an appointment in March 2011, had not been negligent in her management of the claimant, who had eventually been diagnosed in 2013. The court preferred the interpretation of the national guidelines contended for by the defendant's expert, and found that he represented a responsible body of medical opinion that would not have performed a biopsy in the circumstances that had existed in March 2011.
Civil procedure – Personal injury – Abuse of process – Collateral attack on conviction: Court of Session: In an action in which the pursuer, who was convicted of causing death/serious injury by dangerous driving, the jury having rejected his special defence of automatism, contended that the fatal accident occurred after he blacked out and alleged that the defender, his GP, was negligent in prescribing antihypertensive medication, seeking reparation for psychological injury resulting from the accident, the cost of instructing his defence and wage loss, the court held that the pursuer's case amounted to a collateral challenge to his conviction contrary to public policy and was therefore an abuse of process, and it dismissed the action on that basis.
Medical negligence – Liability – Causation – Damages. Court of Session: In an action by the surviving partner of a 77-year-old woman, seeking damages in respect of her death on 8 January 2013 due to ischaemic bowel and superior mesenteric artery thrombus, which he averred was caused by the negligence of a junior doctor then in the defenders' employment, the court held that the doctor was negligent in failing to advise the deceased that she required to be admitted to hospital and failing to carry out a rectal examination, that the pursuer had proved the necessary causal link between the doctor's negligence and the deceased's death; and it made awards of damages for inter alia, transmissible solatium of £2,000, and for distress, grief and loss of society of £75,000.
Bankruptcy – Sequestration – Gratuitous alienation. Court of Session: In an action in which the trustee on the sequestrated estate of a debtor sought the debtor's share of the sale proceeds of subjects where he and the defender had formerly lived as husband and wife, the subjects having been sold following their separation and the whole of the sale proceeds paid to the defender, the trustee contending that that was a challengeable alienation, after a debate on the pursuer's general plea to the relevancy of the defences the court excluded from probation those averments which bore to invoke the provisions of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985 as a basis for resisting decree and quoad ultra allowed a proof before answer, leaving all pleas standing.
Personal injury – Solicitors. Where the appellant (BA) had admitted liability for an injury sustained by the respondent employee at work, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, ruled that the district judge had been entitled to allow the costs claimed by the respondent, including the VAT, regardless of whether a medical reporting organisation (AML), which the respondent's solicitors had commissioned to secure medical reports and records in relation to the respondent's claim, had actually been obliged to charge VAT as it had. The court, in dismissing BA's appeal, held that the district judge had been amply entitled to take the view that the sums claimed in the relevant invoices had been reasonably and proportionately incurred and reasonable and proportionate in amount, so as to satisfy the requirements of CPR 44.3, and that it was readily comprehensible that the district judge had not thought that it had been incumbent on the respondent's solicitors to investigate the VAT position. Guidance was given on when VAT could be charged in cases where solicitors, instructed on personal injury claims, had used the services of a medical reporting organisation.
Settlement – Variation. The clamaint's application under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 to vary the trusts of a settlement made by him was allowed. The Business and Property Courts held, among other things, that it was in the interests of the unborn and unascertained beneficiaries as well as the trust as a whole for the court to approve the conferral of a power on the trustees to enlarge administrative powers, including a power to release or restrict them.
European Union – Public procurement. Article 45(2), first subparagraph, point (b) of Directive (EC) 2004/18 should be interpreted as not precluding national legislation which allowed the exclusion from a public procurement procedure of an economic operator who, at the date of the exclusion decision, had filed an application for an arrangement with creditors, while reserving the right to present a plan which provided for the continuation of the business. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held in proceedings concerning the exclusion from the ad hoc consortium of undertakings of which the applicant was the representative, from participating in a tendering procedure for a public services contract.
Shipping – Crew. In proceedings arising from the deliberate starting of a fire on a vessel which destroyed the cargo, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, clarified that as the fire had been deliberately caused with intent to cause damage, the owners of the vessel were exempt from liability under art IV.2(b) of the Hague-Visby Rules.
Bank – Securities. The application of the first defendant finance company and the second defendant bank to strike out the claimant company's claim against them succeeded. The Chancery Division held that the proposition in the claim that the default in relation to events of default concerning two series of debt securities could in some way be attributed to the second defendant was unarguable.
European Union – Public health. On the proper interpretation of EU law, the appellant meat and poultry manufacturer's products fell to be categorised as mechanically separated meat (MSM) within point 1.14 of Annex 1 to Regulation (EC) No 853/2004. Accordingly, the Supreme Court dismissed the appellant's appeal against Court of Appeal, Civil Division's decision, that had upheld the respondent Food Standards Agency's moratorium that desinewed meat could only be produced from residual meat on chicken and pork bones if it were classified and labelled as MSM.
Pension – Pension scheme. The appeal of two firefighters against the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Authority (the Authority) succeeded, in a dispute concerning whether certain allowances paid to firefighters in addition to their basic pay were 'pensionable pay' within the meaning of the firefighters' pension scheme. The whole of the day crewing allowance and the self-rostered crewing allowance were pensionable pay within the meaning of the schemes in question. The Authority's appeal against findings concerning the third firefighter succeeded, in that his additional contract to provide urban search and rescue cover was not included in the 2015 scheme.
Libel and slander – Defamatory words. In deciding afresh the meaning of the words complained of in a defamation action, the Supreme Court held that in the context in which the words had appeared, namely a Facebook posting, the wife's interpretation that the husband had grasped her by the neck was the obvious, indeed the inescapable, choice of meaning. On that basis, the defence of justification had been made out and the wife's appeal would be allowed.
Contempt of court – Civil contempt. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, gave guidance which was not previously available to those sentencing for contempt of court, in particular involving a false statement verified by a statement of truth by an expert witness. Although the judge's order that the respondent be committed to prison for six months (suspended for two years) had been wrong in two respects, a more severe sentence would not be imposed and it was sufficient to declare that the sentence below had been unduly lenient.
Criminal law – Charge. The written charge could be regarded as issued only when the document comprising the written charge was completed, with all relevant details and in the form needed for service. Accordingly, the Divisional Court, in dismissing the appellant's appeal by way of cases stated against his conviction for speeding, rejected the appellant's argument that that proceedings could not be 'issued' unless and until the relevant document (the written charge) was in the public domain, at least, to the extent that it had left the relevant prosecutor's office
Motor insurance – Personal injury claim. The claimant's claim against the second defendant insurer was struck out and summary judgment was granted in favour of the insurer. The claimant had suffered serious personal injuries as a passenger in a motor vehicle driven by the first defendant, who had not had a valid driving licence or insurance to drive the vehicle. The vehicle had been insured in the name of the first defendant's father. The claimant sought to set aside a declaration, granted to the insurer under s 152 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, that the insurer was entitled to avoid the policy on the grounds of material misrepresentations. The Queen's Bench Division ruled, among other things, that the insurer had a statutory defence to the claim based on s 152(2) of RTA 1988, and that there was no obligation on the court, or power, to disapply the domestic legislation on the basis of any claimed incompatibility with Directive (EC) 2009/103.
Landlord and tenant – Tenancy. The appellant tenants' appeal against a preliminary finding in a claim for new tenancies under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, concerning the sale of an airfield, was dismissed. The Chancery Division held that, among other things, the judge had been entitled to approach the matter of the respondent freehold owner's company's lack of intent as he had done and that the judge had not failed to take proper account of the relevant development plan.
European Union – Citizenship. The concept of a 'direct descendant' of a citizen of the EU referred to in art 2(2)(c) of Directive (EC) 2004/38, amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing certain other Directives, had to be interpreted as not including a child who had been placed in the permanent legal guardianship of a citizen of the Union under the Algerian 'kafala' system, because that placement did not create any parent-child relationship between them. However, it was for the competent national authorities to facilitate the entry and residence of such a child as one of the other family members of a citizen of the Union pursuant to art 3(2)(a) of that directive, read in the light of arts 7 and 24(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held in a preliminary ruling in proceedings concerning the refusal of the Entry Clearance Officer, UK Visa Section, to grant the applicant child entry clearance for the territory of the UK as an adopted child of a national of the European Economic Area.
Personal injury – Damages. The claimant fisherman claimed damages for personal injury sustained while working onboard a vessel owned by the first defendant company. The Admiralty Court, in dismissing the claim, held that there had been no failure on the part of the second defendant (the then skipper of the vessel) with respect to his duty of care to the claimant. The injury to the claimant's hand had not been caused by any fault of the second defendant, but had been entirely caused by the claimant's own fault in failing to take sensible and reasonable care of himself. The court further ruled that the injury had not been caused by a person for whom the first defendant had been vicariously liable, or by any defect in the vessel or her equipment.
European Union – Public procurement. Article 10(h) of Directive (EU) 2014/24 should be interpreted as meaning that the exclusion from the application of the public procurement rules that it laid down, covered the care of patients in an emergency situation in a rescue vehicle by an emergency worker/paramedic, covered by CPV code 75252000‑7 (rescue services) and transport by qualified ambulance covered by CPV code 85143000‑3 (ambulance services), provided that, as regards transport by qualified ambulance, it was in fact undertaken by personnel properly trained in first aid and, second, it was provided to a patient whose state of health was at risk of deterioration during that transport. The Court of Justice of the European Union so held, among other things, in a preliminary ruling in proceedings concerning the direct award of a contract for emergency services in the respondent state.
Employment – Discrimination. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (the EAT) had erred in, among other things, holding that the Employment Tribunal (the ET) had engaged in an unjustified leap of reasoning in finding that the failure by the respondent NHS foundation Trust to follow its grievance procedure had amounted to less favourable treatment for the purpose of s 13 of the Equality Act 2010. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appellant general surgeon's appeal against the decision of the EAT and restored the order of the ET, thereby allowing his claims for direct race discrimination, victimisation and unfair dismissal.