Duncan Fairgrieve

Policy Work

Duncan also has a commitment to ensuring that his legal work is relevant to issues of public importance and public policy.  Whilst being undertaken to the highest scholarly standards, scholarly work can be practically-orientated and have a positive impact on policy-making. Over the years, he has been involved in a variety of policy work and strategic legal action on many different topics:

Technology and law 

He has been involved in multiple projects developing innovative tools and online resources to promote the understanding of legal-related issues such as the web-based databases projects such as the BIICL collective redress website and the BIICL Product Liability Forum Database which presents cases and legislation from throughout Europe. He is currently involved in the development of an online tool, TheVaccineMediator which uses a combination of Online Dispute Resolution and cutting-edge deep-learning technology to help regulators to resolve vaccine injury disputes and process compensation claims, thanks to a robust network of mediators aided by a predictive negotiation system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUnHwSZQ0nE

Collective Redress

Amongst many cross-border litigation topics, Duncan has been particularly active in the sphere of group actions / collective redress / aggregate litigation, publishing widely on the topic including a book published by Oxford University Press, heading a research project at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, and serving on the editorial board of the leading journal Mass Claims. He has also been active in policy initiatives, as a member of two related projects run by the European Law Institute. He also practises in this field as a legal practitioner, and has often provided expert evidence in foreign proceedings on international and cross-border litigation matters.

Tort law

Duncan has contributed to the review and development of the law of tort both for government departments as well as the Law Commission. He led a team which produced a detailed comparative law study on the discount rate in personal injury case on behalf of the UK Ministry of Justice, which was highly influential and was relied upon in the Government’s position paper / consultation response on how the Personal Injury Discount Rate should be set, and was also quoted by the Justice Select Committee in its Review of the proposed legislation,  which was ultimately enacted in the Civil Liability Bill 2018

Product Liability

Duncan has also been involved in many policy initiatives and reform efforts in this area. He has been involved in multiple transatlantic projects and committees on this theme as well as being a member since 2004 of the European Commission’s various committees and expert groups on Product Liability, and is currently a member of the Commission’s Expert Group : Product Liability Directive formation.  He also heads up the Product Liability Forum, a centre of excellence for the study of policy and the law relating to the regulation of consumer products, bringing together a broad number of stakeholders including academic lawyers, and practitioners, but also regulators (e.g. pharmaceutical regulators), public sector (UK Ministries & civil servants, and European Commission).

Covid-19 related work

During the coronavirus pandemic, Duncan has undertaken pioneering work on issues related to Covid-19 medicines and vaccines, both on regulatory related topics but also on the social acceptance, legal and ethical implications of COVID-19 vaccines. He has also undertaken work on adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines and the need for compensations schemes to provide support and commensation for those rare cases where people are adversely affected by side effects of these vaccines. A detailed briefing paper was produced in November 2020, an article was published in The Lancet in February 2021, and an open letter, published in The Independent in May 2021 accompanied by article by the Independent Science Editor here.  This interdisciplinary project brings together a research team is made up of Prof. Duncan Fairgrieve  (BIICL), Prof. Geraint Howells and Prof. Søren Holm  (School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester), Dr Samantha Vanderslott  (Oxford Vaccine Group and Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford) and Dr Claas Kirchhelle  (University College Dublin; Oxford Martin School University of Oxford).  

He recently convened an international conference in July 2021 on vaccine compensation schemes bringing together distinguished speakers from four continents, and working closely with representatives of WHO / COVAX vaccine programme, with research continuing in this sphere.