COVID19 - Steering our way through the uncharted territory in the interests of justice from both sides

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Personal Injury Article

26 March, 2020

In these testing times and in accordance with UK Government Guidance, staff are being asked to work from home where possible.

The law society Gazette reports that both claimant and defendant lawyers alike should pursue a more consensual approach to litigation. The situation is evolving day by day.

Inevitably, the way we conduct litigation is also changing at a fast pace. There is greater communication by email and agreement to accept documents in this way. Parties will find it challenging to comply with current directions and timetables and deadlines.

We anticipate that the Courts will be sympathetic in the circumstances. In the case of O'Driscoll v FIVE Bianchi S.p.A the normal 28 day rule under CPR 3.8(4) will be relaxed in appropriate circumstances by granting a 56 day extension by consent. There are likely to be conferences and hearings and meetings remotely, by Skype or other facilitating media. We are adopting a sensible approach with our opponents to support a safe working environment and reduce single 'viral game playing'.

Experts will struggle to report, unless evidence is acceptable as a 'desk top report, ' as meeting in person will not be possible for at least the coming months. The Law Society Gazette reports that talks have been held between solicitors and the Association of British Insurers about ways to work together in the coming weeks.

A protocol has been drawn up which will include an agreement that all limitation dates in personal injury cases are frozen, with claimants undertaking to respond "constructively" to requests for extensions for filing defence.

It is likely the protocol will last for a minimum of four weeks, with a view to extending if necessary.

The message in everything that we do at the moment appears to be, stay safe and get through this together. Perhaps it we change the face of litigation and how we approach it, forever?

For more information contact Leonie Millard in our Personal Injury department via email or phone on 01254 770517. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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