PI Practitioner – each issue a particular topic is highlighted, citing some of the useful cases and other materials in that area.

General damages for psychiatric harm in assault cases

1. The usual approach is to make a single award for damages at large and aggravated damages in assault cases, rather than making separate awards under each head: see Richardson v Howie [2005] PIQR Q48 per Thomas LJ at paragraph 23.

2. Choudhary v Martins [2008] 1 WLR 617 – Smith LJ at paragraph 18 held that ‘If…psychiatric harm is very modest and to all intents and purposes merges with injury to feelings, it will plainly be more convenient to make one award covering both aspects.’

3. Fuk Wan Hau v Shushing Jim & Anor. [2007] EWHC 3358 (QB), LTL 19 December 2007 John Leighton-Williams QC made an award for pain and suffering following an assault which incorporated an aggravated damages award.

4. In AB & Ors v The Nugent Care Society (Formerly Catholic Services Liverpool) [2010] EWHC 1005 (QB), which concerned historic sexual abuse in a children’s home, one of the claimants (known as JA) was found to have suffered sexual abuse but had not suffered from an identifiable psychiatric illness or disorder as a consequence of that abuse: ‘JA has at all times been within the range of psychological normality’ (at paragraph 87). Taking into account Richardson and the subsequent authorities, the court continued at paragraph 93 that ‘The approach I adopt in a case where no discrete psychiatric disorder is demonstrated, is to consider the adverse psychiatric consequences as part of the picture to be borne in mind when considering the level of damages at large for the assault itself’. In JA’s case, the damages awarded as a global sum were £10,000. This was an award to reflect three separate episodes of sexual abuse. 

June 4, 2012 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases