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Expert Witness Legal News

Energy firm to pay fire compensation

Scottish law firm Brodies LLP has reported a case concerning a fire in Paisley which destroyed two buildings and a gable wall. The seat of the fire was identified as an electricity meter cupboard.

The tenants and owners of the properties brought an action against Scottish Power, the electricity suppliers. The decision by the court was in favour of the claimants and clarifies when a failure to comply with a duty imposed by legislation can give rise to liability for damages.

The issue before the court was whether or not the claimants were entitled to rely upon the Electricity Supply Regulations 1988 as a basis for an action for damages or compensation. The regulations place various duties on electricity suppliers, including an obligation to ensure that works are installed and maintained so as to prevent danger (so far as is reasonably practicable).

In defending the claim, Scottish Power adopted what may be described as a traditional approach to statutory interpretation. Relying upon the earlier case of X (Minors) V Bedfordshire County Council, they argued that the regulations did not give rise to liability for compensation because they did not meet the relevant test. The essential requirements of the test are that:
The legislation is for the benefit of a particular class of persons rather than the general public.

Parliament intended to confer on members of that class a private right of action for breach of the statutory duty.

In response the claimants argued, among other things, that the only rule imposed by previous case law was that the court should look for the true intention of Parliament by construing the particular legislative terms in question.

For a fuller explanation of the decision and its implications, visit

Lift injury payout

Thompsons’ Legal Line personal injury branch reports that its specialist personal injury lawyers have recently acted in a compensation claim on behalf of a lift engineer who was injured in an accident at work. He suffered a manual handling injury while installing some machine steel at the top of a lift shaft. It slipped out of its retaining pocket and he held on to it in an attempt to prevent it from falling, sustaining an injury to his neck and shoulder as he did so.

He required extensive medical treatment and time off from work and eventually had to change his occupation altogether, as the long-term injury meant that he was no longer fit to carry out the heavier aspects of his job.

The injured employee appointed expert lawyers to act on his behalf in a claim against his employer. They pursued the case on the basis that the employer failed to employ sufficient health and safety measures to provide him with a safe system of work and keep the risk of injury to a minimum.

Liability was admitted and detailed negotiations with the defendant ensure that the client received an appropriate amount of compensation. During the process his lawyers were able to obtain interim payments to help fund his medical expenses until the case could be concluded. A total amount of damages in excess of £35,000 was secured in respect of his injuries, loss of earnings, medical costs and other losses.

Group therapy could help PTSD after car accidents

Your Witness car accidentResearch funded by the National Institute of Mental Health aims to develop a group therapy programme that can be used by psychologists to treat the thousands of people every year who develop PTSD after traumatic car accidents, according to claims specialist YouClaim.


Not guilty because of mental impairment

Your Witness mcnaughton rulesby Dr JONATHAN SHAPERO, consultant forensic psychiatrist

English law has long accepted the principle that some offenders are not fully responsible for their actions when committing crimes. Edward II declared that under common law a person was insane if their mental capacity was “ more than that of a Wild Beast”.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2010 10:31


London cycle hire could mean more vulnerable cyclists

Your Witness London CycleWhen London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) announced the timescale for the launch of the capital’s cycle hire scheme, TfL also announced the introduction of safety measures to protect the thousands of extra cyclists anticipated to be on London’s roads come the summer, including ‘advance stop lanes’.