Theo Huckle QC
Different perspectives in practice
I’m always keen to keep an eye on what is going on in the law outside the speciality fields in which I mainly practice (complex and high value personal injury, clinical case and employer’s liability disease cases). It usually takes me quite a long time to read my daily update! Other jurisdictions have a lot to teach us though. I remember how useful it was to me to have started as a broad based common lawyer when advising in public law matters as a Law Officer, and it is always worth remembering that judges - especially those on the High Court Bench and in the senior Appeal courts - will have come from a variety of specialist practice areas, and tend to see things from their specialist background perspectives. In the end, the law should act with consistency across all fields of practice. I have become increasingly interested in the way judges approach the assessment of evidence, both evidence of fact and expert opinion evidence. This piece in Rachel Rothwell's excellent PI Focus for May 2021 is an attempt to bring together some of the recent strands and consider how this may affect the court’s approach to reliability of witness evidence, and also the preparedness of an appeal court to intervene to overturn a decision based on the judge’s assessment of the oral evidence called at trial. It's a little longer than the usual PI Focus article, but I hope it is a useful contribution to this very topical debate and that you enjoy it!