COVID 19 Vaccine – questions of safety and civil liability

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”) has given Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 temporary authorisation under regulation 174 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, which enables temporary authorisation to be granted in response to situations such as pandemics. In this blog, which is the first of a two-part series, Cressida Mawdesley-Thomas considers when there could be civil liability for an unlicensed vaccine. It also considers the conditions imposed by the MHRA for the granting of the temporary authorisation to Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Informed consent in children and young people

In this blog post, Megan Griffiths summarises and analyses the High Court’s recent decision in Bell v Tavistock NHS Trust. This judicial review decision looks at informed consent practices for children and young people with gender dysphoria, whether they can achieve Gillick competence for consenting to puberty blocking treatment, and what such consent processes would require in practice. This decision is likely to impact on guidance specific to gender dysphoria, but the findings on the types of information required for informed consent in young people are also likely to be relevant to other areas of clinical practice.

COVID-19 and Clinical Negligence Claims

Here, Henry Charles, Michael Brace and Lizzie Boulden explain why they consider that COVID-19 related clinical negligence claims arising out of redeployed healthcare professionals are unlikely to succeed on the present law. This should provide considerable comfort to healthcare professionals who are not only bravely risking their lives, but who are also working in unfamiliar roles in the national effort to fight the pandemic.

Who to sue? Doctor held to be an independent contractor in Barclays Bank plc v Various Claimants [2020] UKSC 13

In this blog post, pupils Cressida Mawdesley-Thomas and Tim Goodwin discuss the recent case of Barclays Bank plc v Various Claimants [2020] UKSC 13. Whilst this might more appropriately fall under the definition of an employer's liability case, it is worth noting that this case centred on the activities of a doctor, and therefore it provides useful guidance on who might be the correct defendant in a case relating to medical professionals who appear to be acting as "independent contractors".

Smith v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & ors [2016] EWHC 2208 (QB): the eligibility criteria for a bereavement award are inconsistent with the values of modern Britain

This blog is written by John-Paul Swoboda of 12KBW. The Court of Appeal’s decision in Smith shone a light upon an inadequacy in the law which clinical negligence lawyers have long been aware of; the criteria to determine eligibility for a bereavement award pursuant to section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 is unjustifiably … Continue reading Smith v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & ors [2016] EWHC 2208 (QB): the eligibility criteria for a bereavement award are inconsistent with the values of modern Britain