Employment Tribunal compensatory awards

The maximum amount an Employment Tribunal can award as a compensatory award will be increased from 1 February 2005 from £55,000 to £56,800, under The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2004. Similarly, the maximum amount for a weeks pay is increased from £270 to £280 per week.

Always check the CRU certificate

The client was injured on 21 May 2001 but did not claim benefit until 8 April 2002 and subsequently received incapacity benefit. There were a number of CRU certificates issued showing a nil payment. The client was made redundant on 12 April 2002.

Later CRU certificates sought to recover all the benefit claimed subsequent to the accident. He applied for a review of the certificate arguing that the claim for benefit was as a result of the unemployment and not the accident, that the sums from that date would not be recoverable and that the time lapse between the accident and the claim would suggest that the two were not connected. In the alternative he argued that the medical evidence confirmed pre-existing degenerative disease and that the symptoms would have come on in any event without the accident within about 18 months to two years. Therefore, any payment of benefit after that time was not a result of the accident but as a result of the underlying problem.

On appeal the CRU certificate was wiped out completely and the client received an additional £4,995.75 as a result.

Calculating loss of earnings and future loss

There are two very useful articles in the October 2004 edition of The Personal Injury Law Journal. The first by the employment consultant, at page 12, deals with how to calculate loss of earnings in the light of Herring -v- Ministry of Defence and puts forward the “reasonable career model”. The second article by RSM Robson Rhodes is the second in a series of articles on sources of evidence for claims by employees.

Periodical payment

The Damages (Variation of Periodical Payments) Order 2004 is before Parliament. The order enables courts to vary orders and agreement in personal injury cases under which all or part of the damages take the form of periodical payments. It restricts the circumstances in which variation is permissible to those where there is a chance the claimant will develop some serious disease or suffer some serious deterioration, or enjoy some significant improvement in his physical or mental condition, and the Court has ordered, or the parties have agreed, that the order or agreement is to be capable of variation.

There is also before Parliament the Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 3) Rules 2004 which insert into the Civil Procedure Rules a new Section II of Part 41, which makes provision about the exercise of the courts powers under Section 2(1) of the Damages Act 1996 to order that all or part of an award of damages in respect of personal injury is to take the form of periodical payments. Amendments are also made to Part 36 to ensure that the scheme for offers to settle and payments into court can work in cases in which periodical payments are awarded.

A note will follow when the implementation date is known.