Blog - Monday 24 February 2014

Disease

Its taken nearly a decade, but there is now a daily battle on the issue of what a disease is (for the purposes of costs within CPR).  

A colleague of mine recently had a first instance decision where the presiding judge found that a disease (for the purposes of CPR 45) can be interpreted as an exacerbation of a pre existing back injury, through sitting in a faulty chair at work.

What is clear, is that there is no clarity. ‘An known unknown’ to borrow one of the best/worst phrases of the last decade. There have been judgments going both ways over the past couple of years, but nothing binding. Essential reading on the subject includes:

  • Patterson v MoD [2012] EWHC 2767 (QB)
  • Norris v HMRC [2010] EWHC 90178 (Costs) 

And the unreported cases of:

  • Law v Balfour Beatty (DJ Bedford) 16th November 2009 Claim Number 6LS59523
  • Payne v Exeter & Devon Airport 25th January 2013 Claim Number 0PI2793
  • Bird v Meggitt 22nd June 2012

I feel a Court of Appeal battle coming on – however for those with cases going to Assessment over the next 12 months, the issue could go either way (helpful advice I know).

My personal view is that CPR 45 was designed to cover all injuries listed under categories A, B and C as per CPR 45.23(3) and the word disease was merely used as a convenient definition at the time. To argue over it nearly 10 years later, is opportunistic (at best).