Severe brain damage award

The claimant suffered a range of physical injuries following a road traffic accident. However, he also suffered severe brain injury resulting in emotional behavioural and psychological problems. He had been employed as a construction site project manager but could not continue with that work after the accident.

He was awarded £80,000 for the brain damage element of his injuries. In addition, he was awarded a further £10,000 for loss of taste and smell. The Court then considered a claim for loss of a job he loved . The Judge said it ought to be confined to those who truly had suffered a loss under that head and was neither to be awarded merely by reference to the type of employment nor automatically as an extra. The claimant had always been a hard worker and had enjoyed his work in the building industry. It was accepted that he would never return to that work. An award of £5,000 was made.

In addition to the claimant’s loss of earnings, to encourage the claimant to play a part in society, an award of £231,722 was made to gather the provision of a support worker.

QBD18 July 2007.

Corporate Manslaughter Bill makes it at last

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill, which together with its predecessor Bills has had a rollercoaster ride through Parliament over the last few years, eventually received the Royal Assent on 26 July 2007.

The big issue that nearly caused the death of the Bill was whether to include the deaths of prisoners in custody within the scope of the offence. The Lords were in favour but the Commons, while conceding the principle, did not want it stated explicably in the text of the Bill. Jack Straw introduced an emergency motion, which provided extra time to debate the Bill. The Government tabled an amendment on 18 July that provided for the deaths of prisoners in custody to be included on the face of the Bill but this would only be brought into force by an affirmative order, issued by the Secretary of State sometime in the future.

Although the Bill lacks personal liability for individual directors, companies will now be on notice that they will be prosecuted if they act negligently and cause the deaths of any other workers.