Pressure for higher medical negligence awards - at least in no- win no-fee cases - could come in the Modernisation of Justice Bill expected in the autumn. The government favours making unsuccessful defendants pay the insurance premium and the lawyers' 'success fee' - the increase on normal fees in no-win no-fee cases - as part of the costs. With a 100 per cent uplift, or double the usual costs, as the norm in medical negligence cases, trusts will face much higher bills if the plan goes ahead.
Do employers' policies - for example, on when reviews of sickness absence should take place - form part of employees' contracts, or are they just guidance for managers? The Appeal Court recently decided (in D'Silva v Wandsworth Borough Council) that a council could reduce the period for reviewing sickness absence unilaterally because it was not a contractual term. However, each case will turn on its own facts.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held (in Langston v Cranfield University) that to prove a dismissal for redundancy was fair, employers must show not only that there was a redundancy situation but also the criteria adopted in selecting the employee for redundancy; steps taken to consult with the employee and (where appropriate) workers' representatives; and steps taken to find alternative employment.