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Specialist lawyers from the International Injury team once again supported the APIL Accidents Abroad Conference this year, which was held in London on 2 November 2018. A key theme of the conference was the future of international injury law. The event brought together lawyers and experts from across Europe to consider the impact of recent legal developments and reforms affecting travel and tourism cases, as well as the legal response to advances in driverless car and drone technology.
Top of the agenda was Brexit and its impact on the English rules of jurisdiction in the future. Introducing the conference, Christopher Deacon, Senior Associate in International Injury team, commented:
“As we get closer and closer to falling off the edge of the Brexit cliff, the most important issue for our clients is legal certainty regarding jurisdiction, being able to bring their claim in their home court without the anxieties of pursuing proceedings overseas. This is particularly the case for the most seriously injured.”
Christopher used the opportunity to highlight recent efforts to see greater alignment with the Bar Council’s position and the urgency of a campaign for a new bilateral treaty with the EU on civil jurisdiction and enforcement post-Brexit. Christopher added: “Any new legislation must be as closely aligned as possible to the current Recast Regulation regime to ensure legal certainty for all parties involved in cross-border disputes. This issue is of equal concern to commercial parties, but, of course, arguably it is those who have been seriously injured that stand to lose the most.”
Continuing to look to the future, Julian Chamberlayne, Head of International Injury, tackled the fascinating subject of driverless cars and drones. He joined a panel including barrister James Beeton of 12 King’s Bench Walk and Neil Ingram of Direct Line Group, which contemplated how this is an international legal dilemma for modern technological times.
The talk was wide-ranging, looking at liability for accidents in automated vehicles, data protection issues, who would compensate in the event of an accident caused by a cyber attack and the approach to regulation in other European countries. One particularly important question for the panel was where liability might rest in the case of the current and near-future generation of vehicles, with increasingly sophisticated driver assistance systems, but where the human driver is still required to play an active role. With full automation, the question of liability for an accident is more straightforward under the UK government’s proposed strict liability regime; with semi-autonomous vehicles the lines of legal liability could be blurred, giving greater scope for argument as to where liability rests.
Other talks included: developments in the law on liability and assessing damages in France, Spain and Italy; changes in the law on package travel, including the new package travel regulations; and the Court of Appeal decision in X v Kuoni, where those specialising in international injury await further guidance from the Supreme Court on when a tour operator might be liable for the acts of its ‘supplier’ during a package holiday.
Reflecting on the conference, Christopher Deacon, who organised the day in his capacity as secretary to APIL’s International Special Interest Group, commented:
“At a time of legal uncertainty for those who are injured or fall ill overseas, the conference provided the perfect opportunity to consider the implications for our clients. There was plenty of opportunity to network with lawyers from across Europe, strengthening ties for our continued cooperation post-Brexit. It was fantastic to see a strong turnout for this engaging programme with delegates from a range of backgrounds interested in developing their expertise in cross-border injury cases.”
You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our International Injury pages.
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