Exchange Chambers secures £3.8m settlement in JSM via video-link

Exchange Chambers secures £3.8m settlement in JSM via video-link

David Knifton QC and Pankaj Madan of Exchange Chambers have successfully concluded a joint settlement meeting using video-link technology, following the UK government’s advice restricting travel and contact during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The case involved a severe brain injury to a young man in a road traffic accident, leaving him with significant cognitive and behavioural impairments.

The case was complicated by the fact that he had a history of difficult childhood experiences, a poor educational record, and significant drug involvement from his teens. As a result, the defendant’s insurer contended that, regardless of the accident, the claimant was unlikely to have maintained regular employment or a lasting relationship with a partner, and that his drug use and offending behaviour would have continued.

Although it was agreed that he had a lifelong need for case management and support, following a period of multi-disciplinary rehabilitation, the defendant’s experts raised significant concerns that the claimant would not engage with such support, due to his impulsivity, disinhibition, impaired emotional control and chaotic lifestyle. 

Knifton (pictured) explained: “When our schedule of loss was served, including a substantial claim for future support and therapies, the defendant’s insurer cancelled a previous joint settlement meeting in December 2019 at short notice, to the obvious disappointment of the client. Upon reconsideration, they had agreed to meet us for a joint settlement meeting at our Leeds chambers this week. Once the government advice concerning coronavirus was changed, a meeting in person was no longer sensible. Fortunately, we have excellent video-conferencing facilities, which enabled us to proceed with a ‘virtual’ joint settlement meeting, with a very successful outcome.”

Madan described the technology used: “As a multi-site chambers, we have had the benefit of this technology for years and we are well practised using it. I created three meeting rooms, one for our solicitors and us, another room which also included our client, litigation friend and case manager, and another room for counsel including our opponent to talk to each other. My leader and I had a video connection whereby we talked to each other. The system works on nearly any equipment provided it has a camera and a microphone including a tablet and a smartphone.”

“Anybody not comfortable with using video, however, can dial into the room using a telephone and pin code. It’s easy to use, secure and professional. We are delighted to have achieved a great settlement for our client and Solicitors.” 

The use of this technology resulted in the negotiation of a successful settlement of £3.8 million, subject to court approval. It is anticipated that the approval hearing will also be conducted via video-link.

Knifton and Madan of Leeds-, Manchester- and Liverpool-based Exchange Chambers were instructed by Mark Hollinghurst, Ewan Bain and Julie Wilkinson of Switalskis Solicitors.

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Mark Dugdale

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