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Tort law in practice: appearance and reality in reforming periodical payments of damages

Lewis, Richard Kurt 2007. Tort law in practice: appearance and reality in reforming periodical payments of damages. In: Neyers, Jason W., Chamberlain, Erika and Pitel, Stephen G. A. eds. Emerging Issues in Tort Law, Oxford: Hart Publishers, pp. 487-508.

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Paying damages for personal injury in the form of a lump sum is again under attack. Almost twenty years ago the concept of a structured settlement was first used in the UK in order to provide continuing lifetime payments for seriously injured claimants. However, the idea was slow to develop. Proposals for a structure were easily defeated if either of the parties objected. To counter this, recent legislation has removed this veto: taking into account the needs of the claimant, a judge can make a periodical payments order even if it is against the wishes of both parties. This article looks at the impact of this reform upon the settlement system and the bargaining power of the parties. The relationship between the new legislative regime and that involving structured settlements is examined. The reform is set in its wider political and economic context. In particular, it is shown to be based, firstly, on an inadequate assessment of the problems caused to insurers, and secondly, on excessive concern about the impact of litigation upon National Health Service budgets. Deferring the full payment of damages to later years is politically attractive, and gives the state an interest in the form in which damages are paid. This was insufficiently acknowledged in the reasons given for the reform. There are sharp differences between the surface appearance of the legislation and the realities of practice.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tort; Damages; Periodical payments; Structured settlements; Insurance; Personal injury; Compensation
Publisher: Hart Publishers
ISBN: 9781841137070
Related URLs:
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 February 2019
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2019 14:33

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