The publication of the latest edition, in February 2014, is very timely. The previous edition was published in 2008 and, since then, a myriad of changes to personal injury law have taken place. Spanning over 600 pages, the new book covers the low-value protocols, e-disclosure, relief from sanctions and Mitchell v NGN Limited, funding and costs, amendments to employers’ liability legislation and the Jackson reforms.
This book is divided into four main parts: pre-issue preparation, issue of proceedings to trial, ‘special problems’ and appendices. Each main section is subdivided into a number of chapters, which offer sage practical advice to PI lawyers from the claimants’ perspective. The book would, however, also be of much use to defendant practitioners and insurers.
The first half follows the chronology of a personal injury claim, from the first interview right through to guidance on preparation for trial and the trial itself. The authors – two barristers and a solicitor – have found a good balance between law, the CPR and practical guidance.
The appendices consist mainly of specimen letters which are of more use to those new to this field of law. The ‘special problems’ section briefly outlines issues relating to limitation periods, fatal accident claims and claimants under a legal disability. It also touches on the peculiarities connected with disease cases, stress at work claims, liability for defective products and premises, RTA claims and the 2012 CICA scheme.
In the preface, the authors say ‘this book should be useful for the experienced practitioner and the novice alike’. It is certainly a godsend for paralegals, trainee solicitors and those who are newly qualified. This new edition would sit on their desks and be covered with highlighter pen marks and notes. Indeed, as a slightly neglected articled clerk some two decades ago, I remember purchasing the second edition. The pages soon became dog-eared with overuse.
The book would also be of assistance to experienced practitioners, but often as a starting point on an issue before moving on to the major loose-leaf publications. This is not a criticism, but merely reflects the reality of today’s PI litigation. Authors can no longer undertake a comprehensive review of this vast area of law and practice in only 600 pages.
Tony Taylor is a locum personal injury and clinical negligence solicitor
Andrew Buchan, Jenny Kennedy, Eliot Woolf
£85, Bloomsbury Professional