Day 22 (week 5): Big mistake

Boss still away. No explanation today. Just simply didn’t turn up. I could have gone to the Clerks and exposed the fact that he hadn’t even arranged anything else for me to do but on balance I wouldn’t have been doing myself any favours in anyone’s books. And this was an opportunity for the Boss to be owing me one. Even a small one. So to capitalise on this, I got stuck into one of his bigger sets of papers lying around his room. Not that he’d told me to pick them out but I figured he’d be grateful. The date the papers came into Chambers was back in June and the instructions sought a general advice as to the value of the claim for injury and loss of earnings. No urgency in any of the instructions and so although four months seemed a pretty long time in which to be turning around a set of papers, I could understand at least that they might not have been top priority.

So, I settled into them, gently getting a feel for the case. It involved an accident on a British navy ship back in September 2004. Looked pretty straightforward. In fact, liability appeared to have been admitted. Started writing the advice on the injury. Browsing the digital version of Kemp & Kemp, the main practitioner text for valuing injuries. Pretty straightforward and looked like a valuable claim. Loss of career in the navy due to the broken leg and the complications which had followed. Estimated value could even be as much as half a million pounds.

Worked on it until lunch and then went off to meet a friend who was also doing personal injury. Pretty relaxed day all in all. Got chatting and well one thing and another I mentioned the case. "Have you issued yet?" he asked. "No, why? No need at this stage. Might even settle and we’ve got until next September anyway."

"No you havn’t."


"Limitation. It’s not three years when the accident occurs on a ship. It’s two."


"No doubt about it. Had to deal with it in my first week in pupillage. Never knew before that but it’s definitely two years."


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