17th January 2020
Anthony Johnson (instructed by Carl Jones of Aegis Legal) acted for the successful Claimant in Jones v. TUI, judgment in which was handed down in the Portsmouth CC on 17.01.20. Although the case had started life towards the bottom end of the Fast-Track, the Defendant had raised a large number of issues about whether the Claimant’s medico-legal expert actually had the requisite expertise to opine upon the illness that the Claimant had suffered, ultimately applying to Strike Out his evidence on the basis that it was not properly admissible. Amongst the barrage of criticisms levelled at the expert by the Defendant were that the expert had been evasive, that he was not objective, that he had misapplied the ‘balance of probabilities’ test and the fact that he had ‘learned on the job’ by writing medico-legal reports rather than having the requisite prior expertise.
The Defendant’s Application was treated by both sides as an unofficial ‘test case’ on both the admissibility of expert evidence in holiday sickness claims in general, and upon the competence of the particular individual (who had prepared reports in over 2,200 similar claims) to act as an expert. The Judge (DJ Ball) had the benefit of very detailed Skeleton Arguments from both sides and heard a full day of submissions, eventually handing down a reserved judgment at a subsequent hearing.
The Judge ultimately accepted Mr. Johnson’s position that issues of the type that had been raised by the Defendant went to the weight that can be attached to an expert’s evidence , rather than it being a question of admissibility. The Judge found that the ‘expert’ could properly be considered to be such based upon his clinical experience and research. His evidence was admissible as it complied with the test set out by the Supreme Court in Kennedy v. Cordia  UKSC 6. Any issues that the Defendant wished to take with regards to the expert’s methodology could be dealt with by submissions at Trial on the weight that could properly be attached to his evidence.