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The Court of Appeal (CoA) has ruled unanimously that claimants must disclose to defendants all court-approved medical reports relating to their claims.
St John’s Chambers’ Timothy Grice was instructed by Harris Fowler to represent claimant Ricky Edwards Tubb in his legal battle with pub chain JD Wetherspoon.
The defendant brought in Kennedys partner Richard McKeown, who instructed Ely Place Chambers barrister Jonathan Payne.
At issue was whether the claimant, who had suffered an injury after a fall in his employer’s kitchen, could withhold details of an orthopaedic report that was due to be presented in court. Medical reporting is big business in personal injury claims, with medico-legal agencies charging several hundred pounds for reports to be presented in court.
The claimant in this matter instructed three court-approved orthopaedic surgeons to present findings on his case to the court, including one by a Mr Jackson.
However, shortly before proceedings were served the claimant switched to another medical expert, Dr Khan, who had not been approved by the court.
The defendant argued that the court should make a conditional order for the original report to be disclosed, even if it was written prior to proceedings being launched.
Grice countered that any medical reports acquired prior to the launch of proceedings should be privileged and therefore not disclosed to the opponent.
Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger chaired a panel of three, including Lord Justices Richards and Hughes, with Hughes LJ giving the substantive ruling.
The CoA ordered the claimant to disclose the report, with Hughes LJ stating: “Expert shopping is undesirable and, wherever possible, the court will use its powers to prevent it.”