Tort reform bill withdrawn, minister brings new law

| 24/02/2011

(CNS): The health minister has withdrawn a piece of legislation which had been gazetted and circulated to members of the country’s parliament last month dealing with tort reform and replaced it with a brand new law dealing with medical compensation. The Tort reform bill had been intended to address the requirements of an agreement between government and Dr Devi Shetty to build a medical city in Cayman and complaints by local obstetricians who had said their medial mal practice premiums were increasing so much they were being priced out of practice. However, Mark Scotland told the House on Wednesday that he had been advised by the legal department that a stand alone piece of legislation would be more effective.

“In order to cap non-economic damages in medical negligence cases, including those arising from tort and contract law it would be better to have a stand alone piece of legislation that would address it rather than attempting to insert contract law into tort law,” the minister said as he explained the reasoning behind the change.

He also said that criticisms over the law that suggested it was being brought because Shetty would be brining sub-standard practitioners to the island to work in the hospital resulting in large numbers of claims were untrue. The goal, Scotland stated, was to ensure medical mal practice insurances rates would be affordable as Shetty had been warned by insurers that without a cap on non-economic damages the rates would be so high as to put the whole project’s economic feasibility in doubt.

“Dr Shetty has assured government that he intends to hire top class, internationally respected, experienced, highly qualified practitioners, the minister said, adding that Shetty’s business model depended on being able to provide and exceed expertise and care levels his clients from North American expect.

“Dr Shetty’s recognition of the need to meet and exceed these expectations is evident in his current facilities in India,” he said, adding that the Narayana Heart Hospital in Bangalore, had been awarded full accreditation status by the JCI – Joint Commission International a globally recognized organisation.

“Dr Shetty has a reputation to protect and educated clients to care for, he is not going to risk his reputation of financial success by running a substandard facility,” the health minister said.

During the consultation period regarding the decision to use the tort law as a way to address the problem, the law reform commission had warned government about a number of issues but the bill was still approved by Cabinet and submitted to the Legislative Assembly.

Since then however, during the 21 day review period various other stakeholders approached the minister and said that the tort reform amendment bill did not go far enough to have a meaningful effect on medical mal practice insurance premiums as it may be ineffective against medical negligence claims which were brought under contract law. “The concern was that injured parties would simply side step the cap on non-economic damages under tort law and pursue much higher awards through breech of contract cases,” the minister revealed as he explained why he was withdrawing the proposed tort reform amendment.

After discussing the matter with the legal department Scotland said the new legislation was created which was published in the gazette last Friday as he asked his colleagues to review the new proposed law.

See new legislation here

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  1. Judge Dredd says:

    Yet another unintelligible piece of advice from the Government’s lawyers?

  2. Anonymous says:


    One simple change needed which will lower the insurance premium for the doctors and in the same time does not take any thing from the right of the patient: it is a law which regulate that any compensation is paid in installments once every year for the time specified, which is usually the estimated life expectancy of the patient. Obviously it is paid for the number of years the patient survives. This makes sense to every one. It makes life more predictable to the “Medical protection Society” the indemnifying company so they do not need to keep a huge lump sum for the unpredictable claims. It also makes sense to the indvidual compensated as s/he receive part of the money at the beginig of every year so he does not go and spend alland be in need at any time of his/her life. It is a “win win” situation for every one. Hopefully Mr. Mark Scotland will look at this proposal and get it to the legal advisors. By the way this is what happens currently in UK & Ireland.
  3. Billy Idle says:

    Given a choice, I would pick apple tort myself.