Litigation Personal Injury 29/10/96

Combined judgments: Hirst, Auld, Thorpe LJJ – Court of Appeal – 23 October 19Wells v Wells

Claimant: Thelma Wells, 58

Incident: Road traffic accident

Award: £1.619m by Judge Wilcox, QBD, 13 June 199Counsel for appellant: John Leighton-Williams QC, Richard Methuen

Solicitors for appellant: Linda Y Oliver, Worthing

Counsel for respondent: Christopher Purchas QC, George Gadney

Solicitors for respondent: Waterson Hicks

Thomas v Brighton Health Authority

Claimant: James Thomas, 7

Incident: Medical Negligence

Award: £1.285m by Collins J, QBD, 7 November 199Counsel for appellant: Kieran Coonan QC, Christina Lambert

Solicitors for the appellant: Hempsons

Counsel for respondent: Robert Owen QC, Philip Havers QC

Solicitors for respondent: Compton Carr

Page v Sheerness Steel

Claimant: Kelvin Page, 2Award: £906,000 by Dyson J, QBD, 4 December 199Incident: Accident at work

Court of Appeal, 23 October 199Counsel for appellant: John Leighton-Williams QC, Richard Methuen

Solicitors for appellant: Lawrence Graham

Counsel for respondent: Christopher Purchas QC, Mathias Kelly

Solicitors for respondent: Russell Jones & Walker

Question raised whether judges in each case were entitled to depart from the well-established, conventional approach of awarding a multiplier consistent with return of 4 to 5 per cent per annum on the capital sum and to fix multiplier by reference to return on Index Linked Government Securities (ILGS) at 3 per cent per annum which resulted in significantly higher multiplier. Adoption of ILGS yardstick followed recommendations of the Ogden Working Party (2nd edition November 1993) and of Law Commission Report 224 (September 1994). Departure from conventional guidelines said to have thrown the law on this point into the melting pot. Held by court that conventional approach should have been adopted in each case with consequent reductions in damages awards.