Case Report

Claire Manzi v King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust [2018] EWCA Civ 1882

Date: 29/08/2018

Michael De Navarro QC succeeds before the Court of Appeal in an important case regarding adverse inferences, the evidential status of contemporaneous notes, and fact-finding in civil cases.

The judgment gives invaluable guidance for all civil practitioners, in particular on the ever-present issue of whether an adverse inference should be drawn from the absence of a witness alleged to be relevant to the dispute. The Court of Appeal has emphasised that the Court should not mechanistically draw such an inference just because a witness is absent, but must have regard to the explanation given, and, importantly, whether or not the party arguing for an adverse inference took any real steps to secure the attendance at trial of the absent witness who is now said to be important.

The judgment is of real value to all clinical negligence practitioners, who may be considering the circumstances in which they can argue for adverse inference to be drawn. A copy of the judgment can be viewed here.

Click here for a detailed note on the case.