Elaine’s Lawyer’s Monthly Article

In January 2016, Elaine contributed to an article for Lawyers Monthly who were running a series of articles and discussions on the use of Arbitration and Mediation as alternative dispute resolution  options. Read Elaine’s article here

Alternatively feel free to view the whole Lawyer monthly edition on line here

header of Laywer's article

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Posted on by Elaine Mason in News and Views.

Our 2015 fundraising challenge

As many of you know this time last year, we had a Belvedere Mead Stars team take on the challenge of running up Tower 42 raising over £1,400 for Shelter

This year we have decide to support the Charity – ACTION FOR KIDS, an amazing charity helping some amazing young individuals live their lives to full.


This year, after being “eyebrowed” by my daughter, we have a team that,  on the 16th May, is going to join the Action For Kids Abseil coming down the The ArcelorMittal Orbit: a giant sculpture that swirls and swoops and delivers you views of the London skyline up to 20 miles in to the distance.

Action For Kids supports young people who have a disability, whether a physical condition of a learning difficulty, live the life they want to. The charity provides mobility equipment; funds for repairs to equipment; learning support to develop work place and independent living skills to ensure young people can reach their dreams. Paul & I have been blessed with fit and healthy children who have grown into fun loving, adventurous adults so it is an honour to help Action For Kids to support those who need greater assistance to live and love life.

So please support us to support them , and donate generously at our Justgiving Page http://www.justgiving.com/BelvedereMeadStars2015

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Posted on by Elaine Mason in News and Views.

What a year 2014 was – Here’s to 2015

new year

We said good bye to Sarah and Sally but welcomed Sarah (No 2) and Ben. The two Janes both survived the year and we are all excited about what 2015 will bring us.

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Posted on by Elaine Mason in News and Views.

VERTICAL RUSH 2014 – Raising funds for Shelter

The Belvedere Mead Stars are our terrific team who have risen to the challenge of running (or walking if needs be) to the top of Tower  42.  For those of you who do not know what Tower 42 is then you may be impressed to know that for over 30 years it was the City of London’s tallest building, known to many as the Nat West Tower as it was built for one of our leading banks at that time and was actually designed in the shape of the bank’s logo. Our valiant team will race up its 42 floors ascending the 902 steps on the 4th of March.

Our team is led by our very own Sarah Spring and she is joined by representatives of some of our business partners being:
Steve Myhre W R Berkley Insurance (Europe)

Andrew YatesLiberty Group

Ian BeckettNovae Group

James CavellBarbican Insurance


So glad that the chaps were keen to ensure Sarah didn’t need to run up all those stairs on her own.

Please give generously to support the work that Shelter do to help those who are homeless or have housing problems – There are so many unexpected circumstances, such as redundancy or illness, that can lead to the loss of one’s home.

Please donate via the Justgiving Website – Link here textgiving

If you are one of the modern day individuals that uses your mobile phone for everything then use Just Text Giving Service

If you would like to donate by cash or cheque then please contact us for information on how to do this.

This is Belvedere Mead’s first venture into raising money for a charitable cause so your donation and the efforts of our terrific team members taking up the challenge of those steps, all 902 of them, will make this a success to remember.


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Posted on by Elaine Mason in News and Views.

Appeal update – Hughes (a child) -v- Williams deceased and Williams

Court of Appeal 30th April 2013

Hughes (a child) v Williams deceased and Williams

Ms Williams, the child’s mother appealed against the finding of partial responsibility, previously assessed at 25%.  Her Appeal was based on whether she was in breach of duty to her daughter at all by placing her on a booster seat and using the car seat belt, rather than using the other available seat, fitted with a five point harness. Also questioned was what contribution was truly applicable given that injuries would likely have been sustained, had the child been seated in a 5-point harness system.

The Appellant argued that any reasonably careful parent would not appreciate how far reaching the effects of not sitting a child in the appropriate seat would be – it was argued that the Judge had used the benefit of hindsight, and had relied too heavily on the booster seats manufacturers guidelines in his Judgement.  Also, that the mother had noted that the child’s weight was sufficient to allow her to travel sitting on a booster seat but that it was her height that was the issue.  It was argued that again, a reasonably careful parent would not be expected to anticipate such dire consequences to occur, and in fact that it is commonplace for many parents to transport their children in booster seats if their weight was commensurate with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

The Court of Appeal rejected these arguments in turn, referring to the similar case of Jones v Wilkins (2001) found against a mother who had placed her child on her lap with an adult belt around them.  A contribution of 25% was determined in this case, in line with Froom –v- Butcher, despite expert evidence stating that an ordinary person would not have understood the risks and possible consequences of such an action.

In addition, the Court of Appeal maintained the view that despite what other ‘reasonably careful’ parents might do, the instruction manual and guidelines for child seats contain explicit warnings as to the dangers of placing a child in an unsuitable seat, particularly in relation to height and weight ratios, of which the Appellant had confirmed she had not only read but had been left in no doubt that failure to follow the instructions could give rise to serious injuries.  She had also admitted previously that she was aware that the Claimant did not meet all the criteria necessary to safely use a booster seat, as per the manufacturers guidelines.

Returning to the contribution element, whilst the Court acknowledged that the Appellant was an excellent and caring mother, the case law of Froom –v- Butcher was good law and provided a robust guideline to the Courts in relation to contribution cases.  The Court of Appeal reminded those involved that it was not deemed to be in the public interest to become involved in “prolonged or intensive enquiry” into “fine degrees of contributory negligence”.


Regardless of blame for an accident occurring, the duty of care to a child rests firmly with the parent or carer.  It is clear that the inference that ‘reasonably careful’ parents do not appreciate the risks and that the ‘common’ practice of using booster seats outside of the clear safety guidelines, is not a consideration that the Court is willing to take into account.  In instances of this nature, where guidelines are explicit, consideration of that evidence will be seen as being of paramount relevance.  It is interesting to see the principles laid down in Froom –v- Butcher in relation to passenger restraint cases (seat belts), now extends to cases involving child passengers and the consideration of the actions of their parents/carers.


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Posted on by Sarah in News and Views.

Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance and MMSEA Section 111 Mandatory Insurer Reporting

We are pleased to introduce you to Gould and Lamb LLC , and the National Institute for Medicare and Medicare Education (NIMME).

Our business partner is pleased to be bringing their knowledge and expertise to London to provide a variety of educational sessions surrounding issues faced when dealing with claims involving claimants who are Medicare Beneficiaries.

The sessions take place in London during the week of 17th June with their experts also available to answer an questions you may have.

Please see the link for full selection of topics available. Educational Sessions

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Posted on by Elaine Mason in News and Views.

Christmas Wishes to all our friends and colleagues

Posted on by Elaine Mason in News and Views.

Children and appropriate in-car safety

Hughes (a child) -v- Williams deceased and Williams April 25th 2012

First and foremost, please note that the two ‘Williams’ in this case are unrelated.  The 25% contributory negligence contribution will be funded by the second Defendants Insurers.

Some certainty and reassurance to Insurers, Reinsurers and lawyers, this case maintaining and underpinning the principles contained in leading case law Froom -v- Butcher (1976), relating to contributory negligence  deductions made  when considering the failure of a Claimant to wear a seatbelt or appropriate restraint.  Pivotal to this case, and the reason for making any deduction at all, is down to whether the injuries sustained could have been lessened or indeed prevented completely should the correct restraint have been used.

This particular case examined the mothers duty towards her child to place the three-year-old in an appropriate and available child car seat and whether her decision to place the child on a booster seat instead of the available 5-point harness was negligent.  As detailed above, the overriding issue was whether this decision, combined with the tragic sequence of events and subsequent severe injuries sustained would have been lessened or prevented if the 5-point harness had been used.

It was found, after considering unanimous expert evidence that the booster seat was inappropriate and that the  5-point harness was appropriate, given the child’s age, height and weight, and that her injuries would have been largely avoided or been of slight severity if the 5-point harness had been used.

Whilst the First Defendant (deceased) was solely responsible for the accident , having lost control of his vehicle, swerving and colliding with the car driven by the Second Defendant, the key issue was to consider the cause, or causes of the injuries.

A sensitive case to deal with, particularly given the issues of recoverability in relation to gratuitous care by the mother which she had been required to provide to the Claimant given her severe injuries.  The Defendant Insurer gave an undertaking that a finding would not deprive the Claimant and her mother of compensation payable in respect of past and future care provided by the mother.

As a handler, this case highlights the need for early and appropriate intensive investigation into liability and causation issues and the need to obtain eminent robust expert evidence to narrow the issues when preparing for a difficult, emotive and contentious case such as this.

Sarah Spring

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Posted on by Sarah in News and Views.

A year’s gone by already so …..

Posted on by Elaine Mason in News and Views.

Discover Risk

The Chartered Insurance Institute has uploaded Elaine’s Bio into their Discover Risk website.

The site is aimed at attracting young people into the profession by showing what a varied career one can have if they choose insurance as their chosen career path.

Working in the global insurance and reinsurance markets is not dry and boring  – that’s accountancy!  (Sorry Accountants – only joking).

Check it out : Elaine’s Case Study

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Posted on by Elaine Mason in News and Views.