06 November 2009

Somjee's Abduction

I've quoted from Murphy on Evidence before,

"Judicial reasoning is a combination of three different kinds of logical process, ie, inductive reasoning ...; deductive ...; and abductive (reasoning by way of comparative analysis of rival hypotheses towards a qualitative preference for one of them over the others)."

In Somjee v Barnsley District General Hospital, a personal injury case, the facts are as follows: Somjee tripped on a pathing slab, she made a claim against the hospital (where the trip happened), her claim was defeated.

What is of interest is that the law reports says, "... she was represented by solicitors (with whom she is now in dispute and whom she accuses of conspiring to defeat her claim)."

Also, earlier in the report,

"He rejected as unproved an assertion of collusion between the Hospital's solicitors and Miss Somjee's former solicitors; and also the allegation that the Hospital's solicitors had tried to 'bully' Miss Somjee in the lead up to the trial. The judge said all these allegations were 'extremely serious … [were] all unsupported by any evidence and appear to me to have no basis in fact'. He said the very fact that she made them seriously undermined her credibility, and he had taken them into account in assessing the reliability of her evidence."

I don't want to comment on this particular case: I have only read the report linked above, I wasn't at the hearing. Instead I want to take the general point about whether or not a solicitor would collude with the opposition in a case such as this.

In the UK, a huge amount of work for solicitors comes not from the private sector but the public sector. Why wouldn't you collude with your prospective employer/cash cow to help defeat a claim?

If you cover your tracks it can only lead to the claimant undermining their case if they cry foul.

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