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The Supreme Court’s decision in Paul, Polmear, and Purchase – what are the implications?

By Konrad Honour-Matulewicz, Technical Underwriting Manager

(Estimated reading time: 58 seconds)

The Supreme Court concluded that “…unless the exception defined by the Alcock line of authority is to become the general rule, a line must be drawn somewhere to keep the liability of negligent actors for such secondary harm within reasonable bounds.”

And: “…a category of cases where secondary victims sustain illness as a result of witnessing a death or manifestation of injury which is not caused by an external, traumatic event in the nature of an accident but is the result of a pre-existing injury or disease is not considered as analogous”

In simple terms, it means that the state of health of a patient’s relatives is not relevant to treating doctors, even if they might potentially be psychologically affected by witnessing symptoms of a patient’s condition which negligently had not been treated – with the only exception being cases meeting the criteria set out in Alcock. It is noted then that the Supreme Court has set out a policy of significantly restricting the possibility of secondary victims’ claims being able to be pursued.

If you have any further questions or observations with regard to this decision, please feel free to email or call 01483 514815.

Konrad Honour-Matulewicz

Technical Underwriting Manager
Read articles by Konrad Honour-Matulewicz

Konrad Honour-Matulewicz

Konrad has a degree in Law from University of Gdansk (Poland) and he also completed his bar vocational course there, during which he was awarded with the Dean’s Prize for the best exam mark in civil law and civil litigation. He qualified as an advocate and currently holds their practicing certificate as Legal Counsel.

Konrad is a qualified Solicitor of England & Wales and has worked for numerous law firms and Insurers in the UK for over a decade.

Prior to joining Temple, Konrad worked in both ATE and BTE departments for a variety of leading Insurers and was a Head of Litigation department of personal injury law firm.

His insurance background combined with his proven track record as a litigator allows him to provide Temple’s customers with the highest level of service and support in his role as Technical Underwriting Manager.


Read articles by Konrad Honour-Matulewicz