CLAIMANT NOT ALLOWED TO AMEND CLAIM, OR INTRODUCE NEW EXPERT, WHERE APPLICATION TO ADJOURN BECAUSE OF COVID ALLOWED
In Ludlow -v- Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust & BMI Healthcare Ltd  EWHC 1720 (QB) Mr Justice Jay allowed an application for an adjournment on the grounds that a trial could not take place remotely. However, he refused the claimant’s application to amend the Particulars of Claim and to rely on a new expert. The claimant was not allowed to take advantage of the fact that an adjournment was being granted. The issue in relation to the new expert (to replace one who had unfortunately died) was decided on the basis of the Denton criteria.
THE CASE: THE APPLICATION FOR AN ADJOURNMENT
The hearing was heard on 6th May 2020. A seven day clinical negligence trial was listed to start on the 11th May. On the 30th April the claimant filed an application to adjourn the trial. The parties were in agreement that the trial could not proceed. The application was heard on the 6th May 2020.
” The grounds of the application are that justice would not best be served by any form of remote hearing, and a trial at this juncture would place an unnecessary strain on NHS clinicians and resources. The first defendant’s position in a nutshell is that it reluctantly considered view of all three parties. I would place greater emphasis on the fact that a trial at this point would test an already overly-stressed NHS. I will come back to the question of when the trial might be relisted.”
THE CLAIMANT’S APPLICATION TO AMEND
The claimant used the opportunity to apply for permission to amend the Particulars of Claim. This was refused by the judge.
“In my judgment, the application to amend is extremely late; no good reason has been advanced for the delay; and the claimant is not entitled to benefit from the adjournment of the trial next week for reasons unconnected with the application.”
THE EXPERT EVIDENCE
A further issue arose because the occupational therapy instructed by the claimant had died. The claimant was seeking to rely on a report from a newly instructed expert. This involved a reduction in the sums claimed. The application was refused by the judge.