Specialist lawyers from Stewarts’ International Injury team supported the APIL Accidents Abroad Conference in London on 3 November 2016. The event brought together lawyers from across Europe and beyond, as well as medical and rehabilitation experts.
The agenda focused on the impact of Brexit on the international personal injury community. Topics covered included enforcing judgments overseas, periodical payments, and other challenges that may face cross-border personal injury claimants in a post-Brexit Europe.
Chris Deacon, Associate in the International Injury team, opened the conference by highlighting some of the difficulties cross-border personal injury claimants will face following Brexit. Chris commented:
“The biggest concerns for our clients who are seriously injured abroad post-Brexit will be the potential loss of legal rights which come from EU law, concerns about enforcing judgments in the EU and the financial security of damages, particularly clients who receive payment of their future losses through a Periodical Payments Order”.
Those post-Brexit concerns were explored throughout the day with Philip Mead, barrister at Old Square Chambers, kicking things off by providing a more in depth look at some of the constitutional complexities. He raised the question of whether English claimants would actually lose very much in terms of the direct effect of European law once the Great Repeal Act comes into force. As his talk came to a close mobile news alerts came through that the government had lost its legal challenge in the Court of Appeal and that triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union would need to be put to a parliamentary vote.
The morning continued with a lively panel discussion on the implications Brexit might have on enforcing judgments for damages and legal costs overseas, with contributions from lawyers across Europe. The panel went on to consider the differing rights of individuals who are injured by uninsured or untraced drivers.
Later, independent financial expert Richard Cropper considered the issue of insurers being able to meet periodical payments for future losses for the duration of a client’s lifetime. He considered the examples of a foreign national injured in the UK, a UK national injured abroad or a UK national injured in the UK where the damages are being paid by a foreign insurer. Richard’s talk highlighted many questions which need to be resolved as part of the Brexit process to ensure the rights of seriously injured claimants are adequately protected and that appropriate advice is given on how damages are invested to provide for the client’s long term needs.
Julian Chamberlayne, Partner and Head of International Injury, spoke on the challenge of rehabilitation, care and case management in cross-border cases. Julian was able to draw on his experience of a recent case where he acted for a Polish national who was seriously injured in Jersey and returned home to Poland following the accident. The case demonstrated how lawyers, medical professionals, case managers and treatment therapists can work together to secure the best results for clients. Julian was joined by Matthew Stockwell, barrister at Outer Temple Chambers, Fiona George, care and case management expert, and Gail Russell, occupational therapy expert with extensive experience in the provision of rehabilitation overseas.
Throughout the day there were various other talks and presentations on evidential and procedural matters of interest to cross-border personal injury specialists.
Chris Deacon, who organised the day in his capacity as Secretary to APIL’s International Special Interest Group, commented:
“It is important for specialist lawyers to come together and share their knowledge and experience and fantastic to see this enhanced through contributions from medical and rehabilitation specialists.
As with many other areas at present, the way in which cross-border personal injury claims are pursued in the future will evolve with Brexit. We had a lively debate at the conference on what this means for this area of law but the inevitable conclusion is one of wait and see.
Those who are seriously injured overseas need to ensure they speak to lawyers who are on top of the latest developments in this difficult and ever-changing area of law.”
You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our International Injury page.