BOOK REVIEW: OCCUPIERS, HIGHWAYS AND DEFECTIVE PREMISES CLAIMS: WILL IT STOP YOUR CLAIMS SLIPPING UP?
Law books nowadays are not reviewed enough. Particularly practitioner’s texts. Given that there are precious few legal bookshops in which people can browse it is nice to see s a review now and again.
I have been sent a copy of Occupiers, Highways and Defective Premises Claims: A Practical Guide Post-Jackson, by Andrew McKie.
THE FIRST QUESTION: IS IT WORTH THE MONEY?
As a practitioner I can tell you that law books are expensive. As an author I can tell that you that they are pitifully cheap. The price not reflecting the hours of toil put into them. As a reader I can tell you that the £49.99 here is very well spent.
This being a blog about procedure and evidence I will concentrate upon these issues. The book recognises the needs of the litigator working through the portal. It also recognises the need for the initial investigation to be thorough.
“It is extremely important that the claimant’s solicitor obtain from the outset an extremely detailed version of events from the claimant to the mechanism of the accident, and exactly how the injury was sustained, that can be tested later to test the credibility of the first version of events given by the claimant.”
Precisely how apposite this guidance is can be seen at the decision reported on this blog earlier this week in Bartlett -v- The English Cricket Board Association of Cricket Officials 2015 WL 5037730.
“225. The Claimant was unable either in his written or oral evidence to indicate the mechanism of his accident. It is clear, from his own account and those who witnessed the incident, that he did not trip, slip or stumble on the wet grass. It is equally clear that he made a deliberate and conscious choice to field the ball by using the well known fielding technique of the sliding stop.”
“228. Whilst Claimant gave oral evidence that he led with his right leg and had his left leg under his body he had indicated otherwise in the letter before action of August 2012 and in his own statement of June 2014. In both he indicated that the left leg was the outstretched limb. The use of the wrong leg when carrying out the procedure is of crucial importance.”
As this case shows an early, credible, and accurate, account is of crucial importance. See the guidance in the book “It is always important to establish which foot the claimant slipped on. Was it the claimant’s left foot or their right foot and again is their version of events credible with regards to the way in which they fell and the way that they landed following the fall.”
CHECKLIST UPON (USEFUL) CHECKLIST
The book helps in this by providing numerous checklists. These are, to say the least, extremely pragmatic. The book is clearly written by someone who has a large degree of first hand experience, and a bit of nous.
“Lawyers should be particularly aware of a claimant who says they were not drunk in the initial accident questionnaire and the medical records later reveal that in fact the claimant had been drinking.”
( He could have added often the response is “Well I did have 16 pints, but that is normal for me and I wouldn’t have been drunk”)
These are far from bland checklists. The points raised and the questions asked are telling. Get the facts right and don’t waste time is the basic message (and I like that – a lot).
THE PORTALS AND FIXED RECOVERABLE COSTS EXPLAINED
The book starts with fixed recoverable costs and moves on to the portals, Part 36 and Litigation tactics and goes ont to consider occupier’s liability, tripping and slipping cases in detail.
READ A DRAFT CHAPTER FOR YOURSELF
Chapter 1 can be read here. I would buy it for chapter 4 alone. We have seen that it is likely that the effect of QOCS is that more cases are likely to go to trial on their merits. A failure to consider the basic issue of the cause of the fall and causation could be a very expensive mistake. Chapter 4 has virtually everything the litigator needs.
BUY IT HERE
The book is available to buy online here .