On 16th, 17th and 18th May 2023, No5 barristers Henry Pitchers KC, David Tyack KC, Esther Gamble and Oliver May are appearing in the Supreme Court in the conjoined appeals of Purchase v Ahmed and Polmear v Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.

In both cases, the claimant’s parents witnessed the death of their beloved daughters in horrifying circumstances following allegedly negligent medical mismanagement and developed a psychiatric illness as a result.

The appeals concern the issue of whether a person can recover damages for psychiatric injury caused by the shock of witnessing the horrifying death, injury or imperilment of a loved one resulting from earlier clinical negligence.

The Court will consider whether such a “secondary victim” can only recover compensation if the horrifying event incorporates or immediately follows the defendant’s breach of duty and whether that event must have the character of an archetypal “accident”.

The hearing can be watched live via the Supreme Court live stream.

The recording can be watched at a later date on the Supreme Court website.

Judgment is expected later in 2023.