CPD Hours Level
Conference expert panelInformation 6 UpdateInformation
SRA Competency B


With a speaker panel consisting of 7 QCs, this highly popular annual conference returns with a completely revised and updated line-up of important and topical issues.

This unique opportunity to learn from the leading experts will cover a wide range of hot topics from recent case law on wrongful birth through to difficult issues in cerebral palsy and brain injury and an examination of the current state of play in relation to nervous shock claims.

Conference Agenda

This Conference will cover the following:

9.30am - 10.15am: Opening Address: A Review of Recently Reported Decisions

Gordon Bebb QC, Outer Temple Chambers

This session will examine recent case law as at the date of the conference and examine the effect on the existing law of clinical negligence.

10.15am - 11.00am:Actions for Wrongful Birth

Angus McCullough QC, 1 Crown Office Row

Having been involved in many cases in relation to 'wrongful birth', instructed by both Claimants and Defendants, Angus will examine the most recent case law and issues in this field.

This session will cover:

  • The scope and limits to McFarlane
  • Claims for personal injury or pure economic loss?
  • Limitation and discount rates
  • Valuing claims: any differences between wrongful birth claims and statutory claims by the child?
  • PPOs, are they available?
  • Latest cases

11.15am - 12.00pm: Nervous Shock - Is It Game Over?

John de Bono QC, Serjeants Inn Chambers

Following Taylor v Novo, Speirs, Wild, Brock, Shorter and Ronayne practitioners could be forgiven for thinking that there was no future for nervous shock claims. John de Bono QC will look at the current state of play in this complex area and consider:

  • Whether it is still possible to run a viable secondary victim claim
  • Tactics and the essential ingredients of a successful secondary victim claim
  • Claims by parents following perinatal injury or death
  • Claims where there is a gap in time after breach of duty
  • How to approach expert evidence

12.00pm - 12.45pm: Montgomery and the Duty to Explain Alternative Treatment Options: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Richard Booth QC, 1 Crown Office Row

In Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board the Supreme Court said that doctors are under a duty to inform patients of reasonable alternative variant treatments when obtaining their informed consent to treatment. This talk will explore the limits of this concept in clinical negligence litigation.

This session will cover:

  • The philosophical approach: is there a difference between possibilities and options?
  • The resources approach: should a distinction be drawn between treatments available in that NHS Trust/on the NHS more widely and treatments only available privately?
  • The geographical approach: what if a treatment is available only in another European country or in the USA?
  • The cutting edge: what if a treatment is still deemed experimental in the UK or elsewhere, and/or is not evidenced by randomised controlled trials?
  • How can judges decide the reasonableness of any option without expert evidence?

12.45pm - 1.00pm: Questions on Morning Session

2.00pm - 2.50pm: Arachnoiditis and Anaesthetic Contamination: The Emerging Picture

Joel Donovan QC, Cloisters

This session covers the topical issue of chronic arachnoiditis arising out of the use of contaminated local anaesthetic drugs in obstetric epidurals. Topics to be covered will include:

  • Arachnoiditis: the essentials
  • The early contamination cases: Roe and Woolley v Ministry of Health
  • Myodil: the saga continues - Lewin v Glaxo Operations
  • Chlorhexidine cases, known and otherwise
  • The evidential hurdles in proving contamination

2.50pm - 3.40pm: Causation Revisited: A Review of Recent Developments

Martin Spencer QC, Hailsham Chambers

Causation remains as highly topical issue as ever. This session will examine how recent developments have impacted on the principles and examine the current key issues.

This session will cover:

  • Causation: the principles
  • Causation distinguished from coincidence: the increase in risk
  • Material contribution and increase in risk
  • The Fairchild exception
  • Loss of a chance
  • Recent authorities

3.55pm - 4.45pm: Cerebral Palsy and Brain Injury Update

Ben Collins QC, Old Square Chambers

Some of the most complex and difficult litigation arising in the clinical negligence field arises out of cerebral palsy and brain injury cases. Practitioners need to be aware of developments not only from a legal, but also from a clinical and scientific perspective.

This session will focus on recent developments and will cover the following topics:

  • Causation from the medical and legal perspectives
  • The effective deployment of and the court's approach to experts
  • Applications for interim payments
  • The 2017 NICE Guidance on Cerebral Palsy in under 25s
  • Costs issues

4.45pm - Close: Questions & Answers

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