by Oliver Quick, Co-Director, Centre for Health, Law and Society, University of Bristol Law School
Healthcare harm is a global public health problem. The World Health Organisation estimates that adverse events account for more deaths than either lung cancer, diabetes or road injuries, and that around 80% are avoidable. In low- and middle- income countries,poor quality healthcare accounts for 10-15% of deaths annually. Such statistics are striking if slightly simplistic in that unsafe care combines with pre-existing health conditions and diseases, and avoidabilityassessments are likely based on ideal, rather than real world, conditions. However, in England alone, the additional annual financial costof providing further care to harmedpatientswould equate to employing over 2,000 salaried GPs and 3,500 hospital nurses, much needed given the high number of vacant positions in the NHS workforce.The annual cost of compensating and managing maternity negligence cases(£2.1 billion) now exceeds the amount spent on delivering babies (£1.9 billion.) Remarkably, there remains no coherent cross-government strategy and policy to address these spiralling costs. (more…)
In more ‘normal times’, the start of each new year marks the arrival of media coverage of the ‘divorce season’. Newspapers publish feature articles reporting that the stresses of Christmas prompt many couples to decide that enough is enough, and to make a new year’s resolution to get out of their marriage. Family solicitors duly issue press releases to advertise their services to assist them, both with getting the divorce itself and with sorting out the financial, property and child arrangements that will need to be made to deal with life going forward. In reality, this New Year ‘spike’ in divorce applications may not be much more than an urban myth. The divorce statistics show that in the years from 2011 up to and including 2019, there have only been three years when the first quarter of the year – January to March – has recorded the highest number of petitions (applications for a divorce) filed across the year. Rather, there tends to be a consistent flow of petitions across the year.
[This article is a follow-up to an earlier one by the same author]
Seven months after the removal of Bristol’s statue of Edward Colston in June 2020, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is concerned. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph on January 18th, Robert Jenrick argued that “We will save Britain’s statues from the woke militants who want to censor our past”, claiming that “Latterly there has been an attempt to impose a single, often negative narrative which not so much recalls our national story, as seeks to erase part of it. This has been done at the hand of the flash mob, or by the decree of a ‘cultural committee’ of town hall militants and woke worthies”. (more…)
The National Audit Office’s Report on its ‘Investigation into government procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic’ found that the relaxation of the standard procurement rules to allow for extremely urgent acquisitions, mainly of PPE, resulted in alarmingly widespread levels of procedural impropriety in the award of up to £18bn in public contracts. Most notably, the NAO report revealed the existence of a ‘VIP procurement channel’ for those with political connections, which resulted in much higher chances of obtaining very lucrative contracts than for those retained under the ‘normal’ pool of potential suppliers. This adds to (and partly explains) earlier reports of very large PPE contracts awarded to companies with no proven track record in the PPE market. (more…)
This is currently a busy time for the UK Supreme Court when it comes to international commercial arbitration. The Court has recently handed down its judgment in Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi AS v OOO ‘Insurance Company Chubb’ (‘Enka v Chubb’). That judgment followed an expedited appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal in April 2020. Added to that, there a judgment in Halliburton Co v Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd, an important case involving an attempt to remove an arbitrator in the context of non-disclosure. There are also appeals pending in Kabab-Ji SAL (Lebanon) v Kout Food Group (Kuwait) and General Dynamics United Kingdom Ltd v State of Libya. (more…)
With diverse formally formations increasing, it is arguable that the birth registration system is not fit for purpose because it is tethered to ‘traditional’ understandings of family life and cannot adequately account for ‘modern’ families. This post considers mismatches between law and identity within birth registration for trans parents.
You would be forgiven for thinking that the term “male mother” is an oxymoron, but this is the conclusion the Court of Appeal reached in R (McConnell) v The Registrar General for England and Wales  EWCA Civ 559 regarding a trans man, Freddy McConnell, who gave birth and wanted to be registered as his child’s father (or parent) on the birth certificate. (more…)