Tort Tactics: An Empirical Study of Personal Injury Litigation Strategies

[2017] 37 Legal Studies 162-185

29 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2017 Last revised: 30 Dec 2020

See all articles by Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis

Cardiff University - Cardiff Law School

Date Written: March 3, 2017


This article reveals some of the tactics which lawyers may use when conducting personal injury litigation. The research is empirically based by being drawn from structured interviews with a cross section of practitioners. This qualitative evidence helps to place the rules of tort in a wider context and suggests that tactical considerations may affect the outcome of individual cases irrespective of their legal merits. A range of strategies are considered here to illustrate how they may be used at different points during the litigation. In addition, the article updates our understanding of the compensation system by considering the practitioners’ responses in the light of the major changes made to this area of practice in recent years. It reveals how negotiation tactics have developed since research in this area was last carried out. Overall the article adds to a very limited literature dealing with negotiation and settlement of personal injury claims in the U.K. The picture of litigation painted here runs counter to the misleading image of individualised court-based justice that is often portrayed as the defining characteristic of tort law.
For a You Tube lecture based on some of this publication see

Keywords: Tort, Personal Injury, Damages, Litigation, Tactics, Civil Claims, Settlement, Negotiation, Bargaining, Legal costs, Compensation Culture, Paralegal, Socio-legal, Empirical

Suggested Citation

Lewis, Richard, Tort Tactics: An Empirical Study of Personal Injury Litigation Strategies (March 3, 2017). [2017] 37 Legal Studies 162-185, Available at SSRN: or

Richard Lewis (Contact Author)

Cardiff University - Cardiff Law School ( email )

Cardiff Law School
Museum Avenue
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3AX
United Kingdom
+44(0)2920874341 (Phone)


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