Supreme Court hand down Judgment in Secondary Victim Case

In Paul v Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and others [2024] UKSC 1, The Supreme Court held by a majority (6:1) that the law on secondary victims was as follows: a claimant needed to witness an accident, that is an unexpected or unintended event in which injury is caused by violent external means to the primary victim. Given the claimants in the appeals had all witnessed the death of the primary victim as a result of a carelessly untreated medical condition, there was no accident and the appeals were dismissed. At the same time, the majority held that it was not necessary for a secondary victim to prove that he or she suffered a sudden shock or that the event was itself horrifying. The result is that claims will be somewhat easier to establish in a road traffic accident, and all but impossible to establish in the clinical negligence setting

Robert Weir KC acted for Paul, leading Laura Johnson KC of Deka Chambers, instructed by Phil Barnes of Shoosmiths.

A copy of the judgment can be found here.

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