P, a glass panel installer, brought proceedings against D for injuries sustained after he fell and landed on his back at work (the “Action”). Two years later, P suffered a neck injury in a road accident. In their joint report, the parties’ orthopaedic experts noted from MRI scans taken after the road accident that P suffered from pre-existing degeneration of the cervical and lumbar spines and agreed that the impact of that accident on P’s current condition was nil or negligible. Contrary to Practice Directions which required the parties, having been granted leave to obtain a joint report on quantum from their experts, to communicate jointly with their nominated experts, in April 2015, P’s solicitors unilaterally obtained clarification from its expert on P’s present work efficiency. D now applied for leave for the parties to obtain a supplemental expert report to comment on medical reports relating to P’s neck injury (the “Reports”) disclosed after the joint report was prepared and to reconsider their opinion on P’s work capability in light of his detailed and different description of his pre-accident work in his latest witness statement filed on 29 April 2015. The pre-trial review (the “PTR”) was scheduled for 29 July 2016 and the trial for 29 August 2016.
- It was not necessary for the parties’ joint experts to review the Reports. There was little further assistance the experts could provide to the Court.
- Given the lateness of this application, there was a risk that the grant of leave would affect milestone dates and, particularly, the trial date. There was no guarantee that the proposed report would be ready by the PTR. Further, the risk was extremely minimal that the experts had not fully understood the nature of P’s pre-accident work and the fact it involved heavy lifting at height.
- Finally, if leave were granted, P’s expert might latch on to the new witness statement and resile from his original position, enabling P to take advantage of the breaches of the procedural rules.