Tort law cases often make the news headlines. The purpose of the web links provided here is to fill you in on some of the background to the cases and, occasionally, statutes that you are studying. They include a mixture of video and audio clips, newspaper reports, blog posts, Government reports, case reports and so on. We've also taken the opportunity to include 'updates' where the law has changed or developed since the publication of the book.

In our experience it is often easier to remember the facts or decision of a particular case when you know a bit more about its background - when you can, for example, visualise the parties involved, or picture the accident or event that lead to the claim. We also believe that awareness of the context of a particular case or the passage of a statute can often help students understand – and begin to question – why the decision was reached, or why the introduction of legislation was felt necessary. Our view is that it is important that you experience – and engage with – tort law as a dynamic and fluid process, as a body of progressive rather than static, ahistorical rules. We hope that the links provided here (as well as other things you may link to from them) will help you do this and that they will give you a sense of historical perspective and an insight into the role of the context and history in the development of legal doctrine.

We've done our best to ensure that the links are as extensive as possible but the links are (obviously) not exhaustive. We urge you to make keep an eye on developments both in tort and other areas of law by reading good legal blogs as well as the law pages of quality newspapers online.

Of course, we also know that on occasions (particularly when a deadline is pressing) these sort of additional materials (as well as the others included on our online resources) can prove to be a bit of a distraction. These links are intended to supplement your studies. They are not an alternative to the harder work of reading the text book, academic commentary, and cases. In fact, there is no excuse for not reading the cases. Within these web links we've provided deep links on BAILLI to a selection of key cases from each chapter, and we encourage you to put your background reading, watching, and surfing to good use by reading these in full so that you gain a deeper understanding of the issues they raise.

Kings Chambers Debrief Episode 13In this episode Nigel Poole QC speaks with Helen Vernon, Chief Executive of NHS Resolution, the body that handles claims brought against NHS Trusts and, now, General Practitioners. Helen discusses the work of NHSR, the number of claims it deals with and the costs of those claims. She gives an insight into initiatives to deal with claims earlier and without the need for litigation, and talks about the way NHSR seeks to use the knowledge gained from claims to improve learning, and ultimately patient safety.

Whiplash claims

The Ministry of Justice consulted between November 2016 and January 2017 on reforms to the procedure for whiplash and low-value injury claims – largely these are political issues but they also relate to the idea of ‘compensation culture’ and bring the question of access to justice to the fore.

See these links below for some of the story:

Government response to whiplash consultation: ‘Reforming the soft tissue injury (whiplash) claims process’

Whiplash and the small claims limits inquiry launched -

Exclusive: PI reforms could make justice system “unworkable”, district judges tell government (3 February 2017)

Draft Regulations (for approval in Parliament before implementation 31 May 2021) were published in early 2021, setting an upper limit of £4,345 for whiplash claims. See the debate that took place on the implementation of the Regulations (and the new whiplash claims portal) here.

Work begins on whiplash portal ‘mixed claims’ test cases

The discount rate

Lord Chancellor announces change to the discount rate in a move which is generally beneficial for claimants (27 February 2017)

NHS trust triples injury pay-out to £9.3m under controversial new rules (20 March 2017)

Calculating damages

Fatal Accidents Act 1976

The Supreme Court a case in 2016 on the proper multiplier to be used to establish future losses in Fatal Accident cases: Knauer (Widower and Administrator of the Estate of Sally Ann Knaur) v Ministry of Justice [2016].
For comment on the case see: ‘A predictable revolution: Knauer v Ministry of Defence in the Supreme Court’

In Smith v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and another [2016] EWHC 2208 (QB) the court found that whilst a failure by the Fatal Accidents Act 1979 to award bereavement damages to couples who live together, but are not married, does not directly engage Article 8 (right to family life and privacy), as a point of principle this distinction could not be justified and Parliament should consider reforming the law: See

See also: ‘High Court calls for change in bereavement law to benefit cohabitees’

See also: ‘Fatal accidents and statutory categories of claimants’

However, the Court of Appeal later found that there were violations of both Arts 8 and 14 and therefore that the bereavement award should be given to anyone who has been in a relationship for at least two years at the point of death (Smith v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and others [2017])

Since then, The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (Remedial) Order 2020 (S.I. 2020/1023) added s 1A(2)(aa) into the legislation, allowing cohabiting partners of the deceased to now be able to claim bereavement damages:

Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978

Actuarial tables for use in personal injury and fatal accident cases (the Ogden tables) are prepared by a multi-disciplinary group of actuaries (including the Government Actuary), lawyers, accountants and insurers. The tables provide an aid for those assessing the lump sum appropriate as compensation for a continuing future pecuniary loss or consequential expense, such as care costs, in personal injury and fatal accident cases. The tables are prepared by the Government Actuary's Department and can be viewed via their website:

If you've ever wondered about damages for loss of future earnings for someone such as a promising young professional footballer forced to leave the game at the start of his career, then you've probably asked the question 'how much would he get, then, exactly?' The answer, it seems, is £3,854,328. See Smith v Collett [2009] EWCA Civ 583:

Damages – litigation as big business and high drama

A promotional video of the first season of the US series 'Damages', described as follows:
"Set in New York's world of high stakes corporate litigation, Damages follows the lives of Patty Hewes (Close), one of the nation's most powerful and morally questionable litigators, and her bright, ambitious protégée, Ellen Parsons (Byrne), as they become embroiled in a class action lawsuit targeting Arthur Frobisher (Danson), one of the country's wealthiest CEOs. As Patty battles Frobisher and his attorney, Ellen witnesses just what it takes to win at all costs, as it quickly becomes clear that lives, as well as fortunes, may be at stake".

Compensation culture? (See also web links for Chapter 1)

British Medical Journal ‘BMJ Bans “Accidents”’ (2001) 322 BMJ 1320 (2 June)

Liam Donaldson (Chief Medical Officer) Making Amends: a consultation paper setting out proposals for reforming the approach to clinical negligence in the NHS (HMSO, 2003)

House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee, ‘Compensation Culture’, Third Report of Session 2005–06, Vol I

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) view ‘Compensation Culture’ as a myth (though consider their vested interests) and produced a document in conjunction with the TUC exploding ‘Seven Myths about the “compensation culture”’ in March 2014: ‘The Compensation Myth’

Written evidence presented by interested parties to the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee for its 'Compensation Culture' consultation (Third Report of Session 2005–06, Vol I)

Government statistics provided by the Department for Work and Pensions’ Compensation Recovery Unit (updated 23 April 2018) on the number of claims per year are available at


There are often stories about compensation claims in the news media – also part of what leads to claims about the ‘compensation culture’. Don’t take them all as read – some of them won’t ever make the courts, others have been decided – and remember that headlines are designed to grab attention!

News item on Graham Calvert, a compulsive gambler, who sued bookmaker William Hill for letting him run up £2m in debt despite pleading to be barred from betting, ‘Gambler loses again as high court judge rules his £2m loss was NOT the bookmakers' fault’ (link to case below)

A video clip of Graham Calvert, a compulsive gambler, who sued bookmaker William Hill for letting him run up £2m in debt despite pleading to be barred from betting. He explains how the problem came about and where he saw William Hill being at fault:

Student gets dodgem prang damages

News reports of a Court of Appeal case in which a decision to award compensation for a child’s death was overturned. The Daily Mail refers to the case as one ‘likely to have major implications for Britain's burgeoning compensation culture’:
Parents of toddler who drowned in holiday park pond are stripped of £25,000 compensation after judges rule 'accidents happen'

Shocking events at the Alton Towers theme park lead to compensation for those injured:

‘Alton Towers boss pledges to pay victims compensation for horror crash after 'admitting responsibility'’

‘Alton Towers Crash Victims Could Receive £1 Million In Compensation’

Government acts on compensation culture

Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls (and who gave judgment in Woodroffe-Hedley Cuthbertson (1997), the case we have used as an example in Chapter 1 (see section 1.3)), gave a speech at Birmingham University in March 2013 in which he stated that the notion of a compensation culture is ‘a misconception’ and wondered why there was so much media interest in it. The full speech is available at

That said, this blog post from April 2013, examined ‘compensation culture’ in the light of the Jackson reforms (on these, see chapter 19, section 19.1): Does the UK suffer from a compensation culture?

And, while we waited for a ruling from a 7-member Supreme Court on the claims in Smith MOD (the case is discussed in the book in section 6.5.4 and there are links relating to the case and comment on it in the links for Chapter 6), the Daily Mail claimed that we face a ‘£340million bill as compensation culture infects our Armed Forces: 36,000 claims for pay-outs in past seven years’

After the Smith decision, the Guardian reported that military compensation claims were likely to increase: ‘The judgments have also give the green light to claims for compensation far beyond the specific cases before the Supreme Court. Defence officials admitted they face the prospect of facing a huge bill as a result of a flood of litigation’. See ‘Supreme Court MoD ruling 'will have huge impact on military operations'’ (19 June 2013).

On education-related claims, ITV news reported that ‘Compensation culture is 'damaging our children'’:

Girl, 17, wins record £23 million pay-outs for car crash injuries
It might be useful to look at this in conjunction with figure 21.1 and the surrounding information in chapter 21. Why did she get so much?

Even students are getting in on the act!

‘Students awarded £400,000 compensation after complaints’

There is often news about how the NHS will seek to manage damages pay-outs, or in relation to (related) compensation schemes. For example, in October 2016, it was reported that a compensation scheme for babies injured during birth (which costs millions a year) was to be established. Health Minister Jeremy Hunt referred to the problems caused by ‘litigation culture’ preventing midwives from learning from their mistakes… See: ‘New birth injuries compensation scheme announced’ BBC News 17 October 2016

See also: ‘NHS negligence claims hit £1.4bn’

On ‘that case’ in the US (the McDonald’s coffee case – see also resources for chapter 12)

Stella Liebeck famously sued McDonald’s after burning herself on their hot coffee. Often cited as the epitome of ‘compensation culture’, here is the story not often told (see also links for chapter 12):

Scalded by Coffee, Then News Media, New York Times video,

And a more recent example:

Man’s genitals severely burned when he ‘spilled tea at Starbucks drive-thru’

On limitation periods

And asbestos-related claims (see also chapter 9).

The court's discretion to exclude the limitation defence: two cases – Nicholas v Ministry of Defence [2013] EWHC 2351 (QB) and Collins v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills [2013] EWHC 1117 (QB)


Tomlinson Congleton Borough Council [2004]

Calvert v William Hill Credit Ltd [2008]

Thakrar v The Secretary of State for Justice [2015]

Knauer (Widower and Administrator of the Estate of Sally Ann Knauer) v Ministry of Justice [2016]