Personal injury settlements continue apace as remote JSMs become the “new normal”

June 15, 2020

Barristers from Exchange Chambers have now settled 38 personal injury and clinical negligence claims at remote joint settlement meetings (JSMs) during the lockdown period – with an aggregate settlement value in excess of £70 million.

The trend began immediately after lockdown measures were announced on 23 March 2020 when David Knifton QC and Pankaj Madan successfully concluded what was, at the time, the first JSM using video-link technology.

At the time, Pankaj Madan said:

“As a multi-site chambers, we have had the benefit of this technology for years and we are well practised using it. I created three meeting rooms, one for our solicitors and us, another room which also included our client, litigation friend and case manager, and another room for counsel including our opponent to talk to each other. My leader and I had a video connection whereby we talked to each other. The system works on nearly any equipment provided it has a camera and a microphone including a tablet and a smartphone.  Anybody not comfortable with using video, however, can dial into the room using a telephone and pin code. It’s easy to use, secure and professional. We are delighted to have achieved a great settlement for our client and Solicitors.”

Over the subsequent weeks and months, members of Chambers have settled a further 36 cases at remote JSMs.    Silks and juniors have acted on a range of cases, with settlement values ranging from hundreds of thousands to several million pounds.

Exchange Chambers has also championed measures introduced by defendant and claimant organisations to ensure both parties take a consensual approach to litigation during the Covid-19 pandemic. A survey this month by Exchange Chambers found that the vast majority of brain injury claims are progressing in line with new, best practice guidance. The results complemented an earlier Exchange Chambers poll in which solicitors stated that greater co-operation between claimant and defendants has been the biggest advance in personal injury litigation over the last three years.

In a further lockdown initiative, Exchange Chambers has launched an independent adjudication service for personal injury claims. This new service effectively acts as an alternative to the court service at a time when claims cannot be processed through the traditional court system as quickly as before. The service enables Claimants and Defendants to opt out of the court system and to seek a resolution via a quicker and potentially less expensive alternative.  The independent adjudication service operates through virtual face-to-face technology including Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, while also providing resolution of disputes on papers.

For further reading, please see the following articles in which members of Exchange Chambers’ personal injury examine the pros and cons of our ever-increasing reliance on technology and provide their views on the ‘new normal’: