More than 40 insurance company representatives discussed ways of reducing the cost of severe head and spinal injury claims at a conference organised by Silverbeck Rymer's new claims office in Manchester.

The conference was chaired by Stephen Stewart QC who addressed the issue of personal injury claims from current and former local authority care home residents.

He said insurers had benefited from considerable savings as a result of being able to recover local authority charges in such cases.

Nicholas Goddard, a partner in Silverbeck Rymer, drew attention to the legal principle of restitutio in integrum in so-called maximum severity cases.

This states that the courts, in awarding compensation, should not place claimants in a better position than they had enjoyed before their accident.

However, he highlighted several recent cases where the courts had strayed from this principle.