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Since more people read law books than write them I thought it would be of interest to describe the process and changes made to the latest edition of what used to be called Munkman on Damages. It is now Munkman and Exall On Damages For Personal Injuries and Death (14th edition).
A change of format: restructuring the chapters
Traditionally the book followed what could be called a traditional 'academic' format in its approach to the subject. The third chapter, for instance, was on remoteness of damages and causation, followed by issues relating to mitigation and then special forms of damage. Since I view the book as a working tool this edition has had a major restructuring and followed a format that is of more immediate interest to the practitioner. Chapter 1 deals with the purpose of injuries, chapter 2 with the fundamental question of the meaning of injury. The following chapters then deal with how damages for pain and suffering are assessed. These are followed by the chapters on pecuniary loss, loss of earnings, care, accommodation and other losses.
The chapters of exemplary and aggravated damages follow, and then damages for psychiatric stress and the important issue of interest on damages.
Particular areas that arise less often, but are still of considerable importance, are now in the centre of the book rather than the beginning: remoteness of damage and causation; mitigation of damages; provisional damages; periodical payment; deductions and set-offs against financial loss and recoupment.
Issues relating to damages and death have a section of their own with a chapter on damages in anticipation of death, followed by the chapters on fatal accident and damages for bereavement.
Finally the book deals with damages and procedure, considering amongst other things, Pre-Action Protocols; pleading damages; witness statements and damages; appeals and damages.
New chapters in this edition
There is a short chapter on the meaning of injury. This is necessary because of the fine distinctions between the decisions in Johnston v NEI International Combustion Ltd  UKHL 39,  4 All ER 1047,  3 WLR 876 and Dryden and others (Appellants) v Johnson Matthey Plc (Respondent)  UKSC 18 about precisely what an “injury is”. Similarly the decision in Kimathi & Ors v The Foreign and Commonwealth office  EWHC 1305 that shock is not an injury raises important issues.
There is now a chapter on 'fundamental dishonesty and the law of damages' which set out the statutory basis and considers the major issues and leading cases in relation to this issue.
The final chapter is now on the drafting of Schedules and Counter-Schedules, I thought it important that the rules be set out in some detail (they appear to be rarely looked out). More importantly, however, I have set out those cases where judges have commented, and given guidance on, the drafting of schedules and counter-schedules.
How long does it take?
The answer to that is that I don’t really know – and I’m not sure I want to know. In between editions a legal writer is constantly on the look out for new cases and issues. The hardest part of writing the book is not the first draft, but the proof stages, particularly in this edition where there was a considerable amount of cross-referencing that had to be changed (further I suspect that a close analysis of the time spent could lead to the conclusion that there are breaches of the minimum wage legislation).
This article was first published by Gordon Exall on 16 January 2020.
The details of the book are:
Author: Gordon Exall
Publisher: Butterworths, LexisNexis
The book can be purchased from LexisNexis here.
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