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WHIPLASH (AND MORE): Taking stock of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Hassam & Anor. v. Rabot & Anor. [2023] EWCA Civ 19

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>The Court of Appeal’s much anticipated judgment in <u>Charlotte Victoria Hassam &amp; Anor. v. Yoann Samuel Rabot &amp; Anor</u>.<a href="#_ftn1" id="_ftnref1"><strong>[1]</strong></a> was handed down on Friday 20 January 2023.&nbsp; The Court set out guidelines as to how to deal with concurrence of tariff and non-tariff injuries.</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Two cases were heard together on appeal: <em><u>Rabot v. Hassam</u></em> and <em><u>Briggs v. Laditan</u></em>.&nbsp; Both arose out of road traffic accidents.&nbsp; Both concerned the claimant having suffered whiplash and non-whiplash injuries.<a href="#_ftn2" id="_ftnref2">[2]</a>&nbsp; Whiplash injuries<a href="#_ftn3" id="_ftnref3">[3]</a> now attract a tariff award, pursuant to the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 as enacted by the Civil Liability Act 2018.<a href="#_ftn4" id="_ftnref4">[4]</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>Rabot</em></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Yoann Rabot had suffered various tariff injuries including whiplash, alongside soft tissue injuries to the knees, for which no tariff applied.<a href="#_ftn5" id="_ftnref5">[5]</a>&nbsp; The tariff award at first instance was assessed at £1,390 and the non-tariff £2,500, totalling £3,890.&nbsp; Hennessy DJ, sitting in the County Court at Birkenhead, then ‘<em>stepped back</em>’ to consider whether adjustment was necessary, applying the <em>‘totality principle’</em> identified by Pitchford LJ in <em><u>Sadler v. Filipiak</u></em>.<a href="#_ftn6" id="_ftnref6">[6]</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>‘It is in my judgment always necessary to stand back from the compilation of individual figures, whether assistance has been derived from comparable cases or from the JSB guideline advice, to consider whether the award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity should be greater than the sum of the parts in order properly to reflect the combined effect of all the injuries upon the injured person's recovering quality of life or, on the contrary, should be smaller than the sum of the parts in order to remove an element of double counting...’</em><a href="#_ftn7" id="_ftnref7">[7]</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Following this application, Rabot’s overall award was reduced to £3,100.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong><em>Briggs</em></strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Similarly, Briggs, whose claim was heard by the same judge, suffered tariff-caught soft tissue injuries, alongside elbow, knee and hip injuries for which Parliament had not prescribed a set remedy.&nbsp; The tariffed injuries amounted to an award of £840, with non-tariff at £3,000.&nbsp; Hennessy DJ, stepping back and identifying an overlap between the two sets of injuries, reduced the award by £1,040 to give a total of £2,800.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>The Appeal</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The question for the Court to determine was this: what approach should be taken when coming to assess a combination of tariff and non-tariff injuries where a given claim involves both?</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>On that question, the Court of Appeal was divided.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Nicola Davies LJ, with whom Stuart-Smith LJ agreed, held by majority that on interpretation of the whiplash regulations, the assessments at first instance were correct.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>At paragraph 38 of her judgment, Nicola Davies LJ set out the approach to be taken by the Court:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>‘It follows that the approach of the court to an assessment of damages in respect of a tariff and non-tariff award where concurrently caused PSLA is present is that the court should:</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>assess the tariff award by reference to the Regulations;</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>assess the award for non-tariff injuries on common law principles; and Judgment Approved by the court for handing down Rabot v Hassam; Briggs v Laditan;</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:list --> <ul><!-- wp:list-item --> <li><em>“step back” in order to carry out the Sadler adjustment, recognising that the sum included in the tariff award for the whiplash component is unknown but is smaller than it would be if damages for the whiplash component had been assessed applying common law principles’</em></li> <!-- /wp:list-item --></ul> <!-- /wp:list --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>‘There is one caveat, namely that the final award cannot be less than would be awarded for the non-tariff injuries if they had been the only injuries suffered by the claimant.’</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>In essence, consider each injury as intended by statute or at common law, then step back to determine totality.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The caveat provided is noteworthy.&nbsp; The total award would be no lower than what the PSLA would have been in a given case for the non-tariff injuries by themselves.&nbsp; In other words, a claimant cannot walk away with a lesser sum by bringing both claims together.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Sir Geoffrey Vos MR, dissenting, determined that the parliamentary award represented full compensation for the injuries taken together.  The consequence of that approach would mean the award for any non-tariff injury would only amount in a small uplift on the original sum.  Stuart-Smith LJ suggested it was hard to reconcile such an application of the law with the conclusion reached:<a id="_ftnref8" href="#_ftn8">[8]</a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>‘The Master of the Rolls starts with an acceptance that the 2018 Act “removed certain claimants’ rights to full compensation for whiplash injuries, but not for other kinds of injury”; but he reaches the conclusion that “Parliament has legislated for the reduction of general damages for non-whiplash personal injuries in cases where whiplash injuries have been sustained, even though the statute does not appear specifically to be directed at non-whiplash cases.” (My emphasis). There is an obvious tension between these two statements. Since it is accepted that the 2018 Act does not remove any claimants’ rights to full compensation for other kinds of injury, the conclusion can only be supported if the terms of the statute effect the change by necessary implication and the consequential alteration to the common law was necessary and no more than necessary: see Lachaux at [13], cited by Nicola Davies LJ above.’</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Comment</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The dissenting view mirrors the approach taken by many insurance companies when defending such claims.&nbsp; Following <em>Rabot</em>, insurers are likely to review their position.&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Courts across the country now have a methodology upon which to value these claims.&nbsp; But is that the final word on the subject?&nbsp; We await to see whether leave to appeal will be sought to take the matter up to the Supreme Court in due course.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The full judgment can be found <a href="https://caselaw.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ewca/civ/2023/19">here</a>.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The tariffs found within the Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021 can be found <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/642/regulation/2/made">here</a>.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/bharat-jangra/">Bharat Jangra</a>, called 2019, is a junior member of the civil and employment teams in Chambers.&nbsp; He is regularly instructed in representing parties at hearings in relation to assessment of quantum and in drafting advices on quantum.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/robert-allen-pupil/">Robert Allen</a> is a pupil in Chambers currently under the supervision of <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/jim-hester/">Jim Hester</a>.&nbsp; He will be accepting instructions in second six from 3 April 2023.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:separator --> <hr class="wp-block-separator has-alpha-channel-opacity"/> <!-- /wp:separator --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref1" id="_ftn1">[1]</a> [2023] EWCA Civ 19</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref2" id="_ftn2">[2]</a> Para 2 ibid</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref3" id="_ftn3">[3]</a> So long as they do not exceed, or are not likely to exceed, two years – Section 3(1)(b)(i) Civil Liability Act 2018</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref4" id="_ftn4">[4]</a> Section 3</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref5" id="_ftn5">[5]</a> In quantifying PSLA for non-tariff injuries, the common law principles apply – see <em>Attorney General of St Helena v. AB</em> [2020] UKPC 1.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref6" id="_ftn6">[6]</a> [2011] EWCA Civ 1728</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref7" id="_ftn7">[7]</a> Para 34 ibid</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><a href="#_ftnref8" id="_ftn8">[8]</a> Para 43 ibid</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->

<em>Crompton v Meadowcroft </em>[2021] EW Misc 20

<!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Written by <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/bharat-jangra/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Bharat&nbsp;Jangra</span></a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Pupil barrister Bharat&nbsp;Jangra examines the decision of Deputy District Judge Ayers in the case of <em>Crompton v Meadowcroft</em> [2021] EW Misc 20 regarding the exceptionality test under CPR 45.29J and the fixed costs regime.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Factual Background</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>This claim arose following an RTA on 7 January 2017. The claim was entered into the portal on 9 January 2017, and exited 15 days later. Liability was admitted on 8 March 2017.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Proceedings were issued in early 2020, in July 2020 the Claimants agreed to the Defendant’s settlement offer. However, whilst settlement negotiations were ongoing the court had sent out directions questionnaires, which were completed and filed with the court. On 10 September 2020, the court allocated this matter to the multi-track.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The issue before the Court was whether the Claimant’s solicitors were limited to the fixed costs regime or whether they would be able to obtain their costs on the standard basis.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>The Parties’ Submissions</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>CPR45.29B provides the following:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>“Subject to rules 45.29F, 45.29G, 45.29H and 45.29J, and for as long as the case is not allocated to the multi-track, if, in a claim started under the RTA Protocol, the Claim Notification Form is submitted on or after 31st July 2013, the only costs allowed are—</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(a) the fixed costs in rule 45.29C;</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(b) disbursements in accordance with rule 45.29I.”</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The phrase <em>“and for as long as the case is not allocated to the multi-track”</em> being added following the decision in <em>Qader v Esure Services Limited</em> [2016] EWCA Civ 1109.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The Defendant’s contention was that as this case had been issued in the portal and had settled prior to allocation to the multi-track, the fixed costs regime should therefore apply. Here it may have been <em>“…</em><em>the case that the claimant’s representatives carried out an amount of work that was greater than will be properly reimbursed under the fixed costs regime, but they have to take that on the chin because that is the nature of the scheme</em><em>…” </em>(para. 9)</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>However, the Claimant contended that the costs in this case should not be restricted to the fixed costs regime on the basis that the case was ‘exceptional’ further to CPR45.29J, which states:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>“(1) If it considers that there are exceptional circumstances making it appropriate to do so, the court will consider a claim for an amount of costs (excluding disbursements) which is greater than the fixed recoverable costs referred to in rules 45.29B to 45.29H.</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(2) If the court considers such a claim to be appropriate, it may—</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(a) summarily assess the costs; or</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><em>(b) make an order for the costs to be subject to detailed assessment….”</em></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>The Claimant submitted that this was not a straightforward case and met the exceptional circumstances, a high bar as per <em>Ferri v Gill</em> [2019] EWHC 952 (QB), due to the following:</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:group --> <div class="wp-block-group"><!-- wp:group --> <div class="wp-block-group"><!-- wp:list --> <ul><li>The number of experts involved;</li><li>Extensive medical disclosure;</li><li>The Claimant’s solicitors had to consider that the Claimant may suffer disablement as a result of her injuries;</li><li>Reference had to be made to the Ogden tables to calculate future losses; and</li><li>The agreed settlement figure was outside the fast-track limit.</li></ul> <!-- /wp:list --></div> <!-- /wp:group --></div> <!-- /wp:group --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Decision</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>In these circumstances, the Court did consider that the exceptionality bar had been met and <em>“</em><em>that the work required by those representing the claimant was significantly greater than might have been anticipated … I&nbsp;do deem it appropriate to allow the claimant to depart from the fixed costs regime so as to be properly reimbursed in respect of the work done and the costs incurred on their client’s behalf.” </em>(para. 13)</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Author </strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/our-barristers/bharat-jangra/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Bharat&nbsp;Jangra</a></span> is a pupil barrister currently undertaking a pupillage with Parklane Plowden Chambers.&nbsp;</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>Parklane Plowden Chambers offer specialist pupillages based within either our Civil &amp; Employment teams, our Family&nbsp;Team&nbsp;or our Commercial and Chancery teams. We also have pupillages based in Leeds or Newcastle, with the opportunity to spend time in each of our bases.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p><strong>Interested in applying for Pupillage at Parklane Plowden?</strong></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>If you are interested in applying for Pupillage at Parklane Plowden join us at our virtual open evenings to hear from our former pupils and barristers: an opportunity to learn from our experiences, to hear our application advice, and to ask any pupillage queries you may have.</p> <!-- /wp:paragraph --> <!-- wp:paragraph --> <p>More information on available at <a href="https://www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/pupillages/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">www.parklaneplowden.co.uk/pupillages</span></a></p> <!-- /wp:paragraph -->