Page 24 - PIC Magazine Issue 21
P. 24

MUYEPA V MOD – A ’WATERSHED’ CASE
A legal judgment in 2022 highlighted the importance of objective and unbiased opinions and of an expert witness’s overriding duty to the court according to our CPR Part35 duties.
The case revolved around Brian Muyepa who was diagnosed with non-freezing cold injury (NFCI), after activities carried out in his role as a soldier.
Following the diagnosis Muyepa was told to avoid
cold conditions, but in early 2017 he was sent to Salisbury Plain, where he spent much
of his time outside working
on vehicles. The condition subsequently worsened and he was medically discharged from the army in January 2018.
Muyepa claimed the injuries left him requiring a stick to walk, suffering constant pain in his hands and feet, unable to undertake basic personal or domestic tasks, unable to get in and out of his car unaided, unable to assist with the care of his disabled daughter, and incapable of employment.
He served an initial Schedule of Loss claiming circa £3.7million – the highest ever claim advanced for a case of NFCI – although
this was reduced to £2.9m when it was admitted that Muyepa’s wife
had fabricated the level of care her husband required.
The defence
team produced a significant amount of video evidence to support their claim that the defendant had exaggerated his symptoms.
Mr Justice Cotter concluded Muyepa had “hugely exaggerated his symptoms,” however it was the Claimant’s expert witnesses that came in
for particular scrutiny, with suggestions of partisanship in the final verdict.
While the issues related to expert partisanship are serious at the best of times, in this instance Justice Cotter found that they were compounded as the experts had only ever been claimant-instructed.
The same would apply to experts who are only ever defendant-instructed, and the importance of genuine neutrality in expert witness testimony cannot be emphasised strongly enough.
Cotter J concluded that witnesses had “acted at times as advocate for the Claimant and both at times presented partisan views to the court and... in so doing neglected their duties as independent experts.”
Ultimately, Muyepa’s case was duly assessed to be worth just £97,595 – a “conservative” figure on the basis of his fundamental dishonesty.
There could barely be a
more salient reminder of the importance of calling reliable, knowledgeable and, crucially, truly independent witnesses.
   Partners In Costs
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     2023 IS PROVING TO BE A KEY YEAR FOR THE FUTURE OF THE PERSONAL INJURY AND CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE SECTOR, HIGHLIGHTING THE NEED FOR ESTABLISHED EXPERTS WHO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEX JOURNEY OF LIFE AFTER INJURY.
MARKET TURBULENCE
It’s been an eventful first half of the year in investment markets. The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB),
the failure of Credit Suisse, as well as the latest Bank of England interest rate rise and monetary tightening measures from the Federal Reserve, have combined to create significant turbulence.
For clients after injury who hold investments, fluctuating markets can be concerning. For the investment
experts at Ascencia, Frenkel Topping Group’s in-house discretionary fund manager, market volatility is expected and warrants a cautious and prudent approach. Blips
in market behaviours have created periods of volatility throughout history. It is the potential impact of events of this nature that are factored into the creation of Ascencia’s portfolios, with a focus on protecting the downside and taking an agile and pro-active approach to capitalise on the upside when it comes.
Ascencia’s investment managers, as always, have taken
a pro-active approach to recent market developments, enacting the necessary decisions to best protect funds including a constant review of asset allocation and implementing a more defensive stance, reassuring clients that their investments are being managed in the most appropriate way to maximise protection while this period of turbulence passes.
THE PERSONAL INJURY DISCOUNT RATE AND A NEW RATE IN 2024
The anticipation of the Personal Injury Discount Rate that will be set in 2024 has caused many industry figures to look to Frenkel Topping Group as a source of thought leadership.
The Ministry of Justice has asked for submissions of evidence to support a dual or multiple rate and Frenkel Topping has contributed its expert commentary on the benefits and drawbacks of the various options and on the conflict that can be created around life expectancy and the grey areas the rate can open up in litigation processes. As the economic backdrop against which the rate is set grows increasingly complex, we can expect the rationale for the 2024 discount rate to be under particular scrutiny.
Will the rate move favourably for the defendant? Will the poor investment returns since the rate was last set and increasing inflation result in a more negative rate? Is a dual or variable rate a likely outcome? What does this mean for those cases that are due to settle beyond the announcement of the new rate? How will those valuations be impacted?
   INDUSTRY EXPERTS






























































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