Workplace Regulations – visitors – Court of Appeal

In the last Law Bulletin we reported a Scottish case (Donaldson -v- Hays) rejecting the claim that non-working visitors should have the benefit of the Workplace Regs for an injury at a workplace, for example a customer who has slipped  in a shop would not succed under the Regs.

There is an English Court of Appeal authority on the same point, namely Ricketts -v- Torbay CC (2003) EWCA Civ 613 (CA (Civ Div), with the same negative outcome for non-working visitors.

This judgement – like all Court of Appeal judgements – is on our Casetrack service.

MOD cases of negligent failure to diagnose PTSD

These three cases were heard on the same day at the High Court and all uphold the point that a failure by a Ministry of Defence psychiatrist to diagnose and treat PTSD rendered the MOD liable for the extent to which the condition was made worse by failure to treat the condition.

In two of the cases – claimants X and West – there was no compensation for further damage arising from criminal acts committed after the negligent failure to treat, even though, on the balance of probabilities, in one case proper treatment would have prevented commission of the crime (applying the policy decision of Clunis -v- Camden & Islington HA (1998) 2 WLR 902 that there should be no compensation for the consequences of a criminal act).

There were still substantial awards on general damages – £20,000 in the case of X and, in the case of New, a full award for loss of earnings for the loss of his career.

X -v- Ministry of Defence, QBD Owen J,High Ct, 29/7/2005
New -v- Ministry of Defence, as above.

West -v- Ministry of Defence, as above

Assault in police force

This was an alleged assault at a works party. The victim sued her assailant and her employer.  It was held the claimant failed to prove on balance she had been assaulted. Her argument that her psychiatric evidence showing PTSD was objective evidence of an assault (citing Robinson -v- Bird (2003) EWCA Civ 1820) was rejected as that was reliant on an accurate recall of events by the claimant.

A useful point on actions within the police force generally is that the Chief Commissioner may be sued (and accept liability for actions, if the negligent actions are proved) for all actions of his service under the Police Act 1996 s88(1) which may remove the need for vicarious liability arguments such as Lister  or as in the  Sport At Work case above. This point was made to me by Vince Williams of 9 Gough Square under cover of another case.

Deborah Anne Hutchinson -v- (1) Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (2) Danielle Morgan (2005)