Right to the House of Lords

In November 1911, a claim for injury at work was escalated from small courts right up to discussion and consideration in the House of Lords. At the centre of this was Blantyre man, Daniel Morgan.

Daniel was a driver for Dixons Collieries at High Blantyre and lived at 50 Forest Place, (approximately where Jinxy’s Bakery and Gilbride Pharmacy is now). That month Daniel brought a claim against his employers after he injured his foot, calling upon the Workmen’s Compensation Act of 1906 to see if he was due compensation.

However, when it came to court, the judge asked Daniel to be put forward for medical inspection. However, Daniel refused on the basis he had brought his own medical expert along, who was indeed a qualified doctor. A stalemate manifested in the court room where the judge insisted he present himself for inspection, but Daniel insisting he had already done so, with his own doctor. Clearly the judge wasn’t trusting the situation so things were adjourned.

The case then escalated through arbitration as Daniel stuck to his own stance that he is entitled to bring along a qualified medical expert and refused to be examined again by any other doctor, no less one of the judges or his employers choosing!

The question was therefore, whether Daniel was entitled to do this and it couldn’t be settled in local courts, ending up being discussed in the House of Lords in London! With no other similar case ever heard it was found that the existing law was silent on whether Daniel should have his own doctor, but on the basis he was providing one, proven as qualified at his own expense and did so promptly, the Lord Chancellor’s judgement was that it was perfectly reasonable for Daniel to do this and with no need to waste any further time or expense on submitting himself to additional scrutiny or examination.

The law was amended by an added, appendix clause to ensure the matter would not need discussion again. Daniel Morgan’s defiance and steadfastness set the wheels in motion for this Blantyre man to get the law changed, which has rippled down and been applied for over a Century in Scottish compensation and injury claims since.

The House of Lords is shown in this illustration in that exact year 1911, and who knows perhaps some of the men discussing Daniel Morgan’s case are in that very picture!?

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