New co-operation in personal injury

HISTORY will be made this week when the groups representing personal injury plaintiff and defendant lawyers meet for a friendly out-of-court debate on mediation.

The Future of Dispute Resolution in Personal Injury Claims is the title of the meeting in London being held jointly on Tuesday by The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil) and the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (Foil).

The meeting is certain to delight the Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, whose mission is to foster a less adversarial legal system.

A Foil spokesman said the conference represented an attempt to bring out into the open the views of both the traditionally opposing factions on issues affecting both sides.

Debate will focus on the British and Canadian experiences of mediation in personal injury, the promotion of rehabilitation for injured victims, common causes of delay and the role of the expert witness after Woolf.

Foil president Tony Cherry said: “Where expert witnesses are concerned, Foil thinks Lord Woolf was absolutely right. If the damages will amount to £5,000, why pay an expert witness engineer £3,000? But Apil will take the view that justice cannot be quantified.”

Apil vice president Ian Walker said: “One thing the Woolf review expressed was the need for greater co-operation in litigation.”