There are suggestions that some accident victims are being “forced into rehab” by lawyers and claims management companies determined to “boost their own incomes”, an independent report has found.
A medical expert who failed to disclose that he had trained the defendant on whose behalf he was giving evidence and that they had “worked together closely for a substantial period” has been criticised by the Court of Appeal.
A doctor who fraudulently submitted false medical claims worth £183,000 to unwitting solicitors has been jailed for two years. He was found guilty at the Old Bailey of one count of fraud by false representation and for being in possession of articles for use in fraud and money laundering.
A row has blown up over a county court case in which a doctor accused of exaggerating medical evidence agreed to pay the costs of the defendant insurer, which the judge said was “unique”. Dr Grace Kerali is now threatening to sue Ageas for defamation over comments it made about her in a press release about the case.
The Civil Procedure Rule Committee is to look into the provision of expert evidence in court as it considers the recommendations of a recent report into concurrent evidence, known as hot-tubbing. The report found that hot-tubbing was improving quality, saving trial time and helping judges determine disputed issues.
Defendants who failed to engage in discussions about expert evidence, leading to the claimants having to go back to court, have been ordered to pay the costs of the hearing. Chief Master Marsh said parties must always co-operate in efforts to focus expert evidence as much as possible.
Nearly half of experts have come across a counterpart they consider to be a ‘hired gun’, willing to give an opinion that helps the side paying them, according to a survey. The poll also found that half of those who had considered giving up as an expert in the last year cited the pay they received.
Experts giving evidence concurrently – known as ‘hot tubbing’ – is assisting the courts and reducing costs, according to a survey carried out by the Expert Witness Institute. It also found that half had seen the number of instructions received go up over the past year.
The Ministry of Justice has finally laid out how it will stop the large medical reporting organisations registering ‘shell’ companies on MedCo, a practice it said “undermined the government’s policy principles of independence and fair competition”.
The Expert Witness Institute has chosen Singapore as the location for its first international presence as it bids to increase the number of accredited expert witnesses in Asia and also open up more opportunities for UK-based experts.
Proportionality is one of the major issues that we find we are dealing with at the end of a matter, particularly in the small-to-medium-value claims. Why was it introduced? It was considered that the then existing system was not working and that a system needed to be put in place which would “promote access to justice at proportionate cost”. In 2009, Court of Appeal judge Sir Anthony May said: “Assessments which have to concentrate retrospectively on what the winning party has spent will always risk producing a disproportionate result.”