Latest news the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association (PNLA) Thursday 30th June, 2016

The Adjudication Pilot for Professional Negligence Claims has been re-launched after the Master of the Rolls appointed Mr Justice Fraser and Mrs Justice Carr to chair the group in December 2015.

Dentons’ Tim Constable hosted a packed launch event back on 25 May 2016, where Lord Justice Briggs gave the keynote address. You can access the new pilot pack by clicking here.

This procedure could well plug a gap between the established ADR option of mediation in this type of case and Court proceedings. Some cases have issues that are impossible to settle and need a determination. Adjudicators can be chosen by the parties – there is a PNBA panel of volunteers included in the pack for example – and failing agreement, the Chairman of the PNBA can appoint. Adjudication is listed in the protocol as an ADR option to consider. If a party is invited to adjudicate and refuses, there is then scope for costs sanctions in the same way as for mediation or other ADR processes.

The scheme is a voluntary agreement and therefore the pack provides a precedent to work from. For example, it includes options as to whether costs should be recoverable for the whole action or whether the decision is final and binding. Traditionally, the adjudicators decision is an open document and enforceable in Court, but it is ‘temporarily binding’ in that the parties can go to Court afterwards to hear the case in the normal way if not satisfied.

Claimant lawyers, professional indemnity insurers and panel firms – notably RPC who are part of the pilot group – have all seen opportunities for adjudication to work in professional negligence claims, to achieve resolution of disputes more cheaply and quickly. The group are very interested in hearing about cases where adjudication has been offered and the reasons it may have been declined, in addition to the adjudications which go head; the independent contact for this feedback is Dr Masood Ahmed of Leicester University, who can be contacted by email at the following address ma600@leicester.ac.uk.

Temple Legal Protection has been working closely with the PNLA to consider ATE insurance options for cases where adjudication is agreed.

More generally, 2016 has been the most active year for PNLA events than ever before, with conferences held in London, Bristol and Edinburgh, as well as a new London conference with Grant Thornton focussing on Auditors and Accountants negligence claims.

The programme of events schedule for this autumn is below:

  • 13 October 2016 – a NEW conference to be held in Southampton at Grand Harbour Hotel
  • 3 November 2016 – to be held at the EEF Centre, Broadway Centre (London)
  • 30 November and 1 December 2016 – PNLA Annual Conference to be held at Billesley Manor, Stratford upon Avon

There are substantial discounts for PNLA members to attend these events, alongside the other member benefits. Please email yvonne.fairbrother@pnla.org.uk for an application form.

On a very sad note, Nigel Mallett, Chief Executive and co-founder of the PNLA in 2004, died suddenly on 9 May 2016. He leaves wife Nora and three daughters. The PNLA management team of Andrea Cohen and Katy Manley will miss him very much. The PNLA is a great tribute to Nigel’s accountancy and organisational skills, but he will be remembered most for his unfailing good humour and geniality. The very kind emails and letters of condolence from PNLA members and others were very much appreciated. We hope that as many of you as possible will join us at the dinner on 30 November 2016 to raise a glass in his memory.

On a happier note, Kay Bethencourt has agreed to join the PNLA as Operations Manager after over 30 years at Barclays Bank Plc. Kay not only understands the nature of our work on the lender claims side, but has also been involved with lending to solicitors practices.

Katy Manley – President
Professional Negligence Lawyers Association – www.pnla.org.uk

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