Hale v NHS Blood & Transplan

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtQueen's Bench Division
JudgeMr Justice Globe
Judgment Date19 Apr 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] EWHC 1200 (QB)
Docket NumberCase No: TLQ/15/0959

[2016] EWHC 1200 (QB)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Before:

Mr Justice Globe

Case No: TLQ/15/0959

Between:
Hale
Claimant
and
NHS Blood & Transplan
Defendant

Simon Wheatley (instructed by Keeble Hawson) appeared on behalf of the Claimant

David Thomson (instructed by Weightmans) appeared on behalf of the Defendant

Mr Justice Globe

INTRODUCTION

1

This is the Defendant's application under CPR 3.1(2), dated 14 March 2016 to extend time from 18 March until 8 April for the Defendant to serve quantum evidence and a counter schedule.

2

On 15 March, Master Cook listed the application for hearing on 7 April.

3

On 6 April, the Defendant served its evidence.

4

On 7 April, Master Cook adjourned the application to the judge in charge of the list because, on one view of the application, there was the possibility that the trial date would need to be vacated. The trial is listed for an eight day hearing beginning on a day within a five day trial window, commencing 9 May.

RELEVANT HISTORY

5

On 3 March 2009, the Claimant (a solicitor) gave blood and suffered a reaction, particularly to his left arm. That resulted in injury, the details of which are in dispute, as is the consequential damage, including the claimed loss of his solicitor's practice. It is the Claimant's case that he suffered neuropathic pain and developed a complex regional pain syndrome.

6

On 6 August 2009, the Defendant accepted responsibility for compensating the Claimant. The issue is solely a damages issue.

7

On 12 March 2014 and 26 March 2014, the Claimant respectively served Particulars of Claim and a Schedule of Loss, valuing the claim at £1,160,752. The pleaded Defence served shortly afterwards effectively puts the Claimant to proof of his case and all injury and loss claimed.

8

On 20 May 2015, Master Cook gave directions which included the following requirements.

a. By paragraph 5.2, the Claimant's witness statements were to be served by 17 July 2015.

b. By paragraph 6.1.9, the Claimant's expert, Mr Fox (an expert in the valuation and sale of solicitors' practices) should be served by 11 September 2015.

c. By paragraph 17, the Claimant's updated Schedule of Loss and Damage should be served by 11 September 2015.

d. By paragraph 6.2 and 18, the Defendant's expert reports and counter Schedule of Loss and Damage should be served by 6 November 2015 — in other words, after all of the Claimant's statements and expert reports had been served.

e. By paragraph 18.4, the trial window was set for the period between 4 April and 29 July 2016.

9

By the time Master Cook gave those directions on 20 May 2015, the Claimant had suffered heart problems which worsened and required surgery on 1 June 2015 for the performance of a quadruple coronary artery bypass. The effect of that principally was to delay the service of witness statements that were due by 17 July 2015. Some service of documents took place in later summer/early autumn 2015, but it was clear that the order of 20 May 2015 was going to require variation.

10

So it was that, on 24 November 2015, Master Cook substantially varied his May order. It is of significance that the order was a Consent Order varying terms on both sides.

a. By paragraph 4, there was an extension of time for the Claimant to serve further witness statements by 13 November 2015

b. By paragraph 6, there was an extension of time for the Claimant to serve the expert report of Mr Fox by 27 November 2015,

c. By paragraph 10, there was an extension of time for the service of the updated Schedule of Loss by 27 November 2015.

d. By paragraph 5, there was an extension of time for the Defendant to serve witness statements by 13 November 2015,

e. By paragraphs 8 and 10, there was an extension of time for the defendant to serve expert evidence and a counter schedule by 26 February 2016.

f. By paragraph 9, there was an extension of time for expert joint discussions to 25 March 2016 with service of joint statements by 1 April 2016.

11

On 11 December 2015, Master Cook made a further order. Again, it is of significance that it was an order that was made by consent.

a. By paragraph 1, the order extended time for service of the Defendant's witness statement to 16 December 2015. The particular witness statement that was awaited was that of Mr Wyatt, a barrister and former colleague of the Claimant.

b. By paragraph 2, the order also extended time for service of the Claimant's expert report of Mr Fox which was still awaited and any further supplemental evidence by 13 January 2016.

12

On 15 December 2015, the Defendant served Mr Wyatt's witness statement. This therefore meant that the Defendant still had until 26 February 2016 to serve its expert evidence and a counter schedule. However, before doing so, the Claimant still had to comply with the directions in relation to serving reports.

13

The Claimant served various documents during January 2016.

14

On 4 January 2016, the Claimant sent to the Defendant what I am informed was approximately 1,200 pages of documentation from the Solicitors Regulatory Authority investigation into the Claimant's solicitors' firm.

15

On 5 January 2016, the Claimant served a report from Mr Fox; it being a report which in itself was dated in April 2014 and also a report from Dr Carstairs, a clinical psychologist, which was a report dated 30 October 2015.

16

Nine days later, on 14 January 2016 the Claimant served a further report from Dr Carstairs which was a more recent one, dated 11 November 2015.

17

By an application dated 19 February 2016, the Defendant applied to extend time for the service of its expert evidence from 26 February 2016 to 18 March 2016, principally because of the extent of the material served by the Claimant in January and (I am informed) because of the addition that appeared from the report of Mr Fox of a good-will factor in relation to the Claimant's firm.

18

On 19 February 2016, Master Eastman considered the Defendant's application and ordered an extension of time for the Defendant to serve its expert evidence by Friday, 18 March 2016 and to serve its counter Schedule of Loss by the same date. It was also ordered that there should be an extension of time for the joint discussions to take place on 1 April 2016 with service of joint statements by 8 April 2016. The Claimant was given permission to set aside that order. No application to do so was made.

19

On 24 February 2016, the Claimant served an addendum report from Dr Carstairs, the date of which was 1 February 2016.

20

I am informed by Mr Thomson, as is confirmed in the second supplementary witness statement of Gemma Dunn for the Defendant, dated 14 April 2016, and I accept, that the Defendant's valuation expert Mr Poole was on course for providing his expert report for service by 18 March 2016. However, on Thursday, 10 March, he injured the cornea of one of his eyes, was admitted to hospital and was unable to complete his report due to severe pain and loss of vision.

21

Immediately after the weekend on Monday, 14 March 2016 — and so four days prior to the due date of Friday, 18 March – the Defendant applied to extend the time for the service of the Defendant's expert reports. The proposed extension was for three weeks to 8 April 2016.

22

It is important to note that the intention of the Defendant was to serve more expert evidence than that of Mr Poole. The evidence comprised four experts' reports: Dr Bird, a consultant psychiatrist; Dr Leng, a consultant neuropsychologist; Mr Taaf, a forensic accountant and Mr Poole, he being an expert in sales and valuation of solicitors' practices. Those four experts...

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