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Judicial College Guidelines 14th Edition

The 14th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines was published on 14 September 2017. The new guidelines have not introduced significant change to the level of damages for personal injury. Generally the Guidelines update figures with reference to the increase in the RPI (Retail Prices Index) of around 4.8%.It must be noted that the purpose of the guidelines is to assist parties and the court rather than to simply dictate figures.

Manson V Robb [2017] CSOH126

On 3 October 2017 an opinion was issued in the case of George Manson & Others. v Henry Robb Limited [2017] CSOH126. The relatives of the late George Manson brought an action as a result of Mr Manson developing mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos during his time employed by the Defenders. Liability had been admitted for the death but the Court was asked to determine the amount payable to the Pursuers under s 4(3)(b) of the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 and the amount payable for the loss of services in terms of s 9 of the 2011Act.

The Pursuers sought to rely on the close relationships between themselves and the Deceased. Further to this, it was submitted that although the Deceased was 80 years old when he died and had other illnesses for a considerable length of time, this should not dismiss the close relationships that the Pursuers enjoyed with the Deceased.

The Defenders submitted that individual circumstances varied hugely in relation to showing how close they were with the Deceased. They further highlighted that whilst it was conceded that it must have been a distressing time for the Pursuers, the Deceased’s symptoms were only for a relatively short period of time. The Defenders argued that the age of the Deceased and the other illnesses he was suffering at the date of his death should be taken into account by the Court. Interestingly, the Defenders made the argument that there must be greater consistency between jury awards and judicial awards when assessing damages.

In its decision when assessing damages the Court took into account two main factors. The Court firstly emphasised the close relationships between the Deceased and the Pursuers. Secondly the advanced age of the Deceased combined with his short life expectancy and his other illnesses were viewed as crucial when reaching its decision.  The Court awarded the sum of £30,000 each to the first and second Pursuers as sons of the deceased. The Court also awarded £75,000 to the third Pursuer, the Deceased’s widow.

The Court here balanced the nature of the relationship between the Pursuers and the Deceased with the overall health and condition of the Deceased at the time of death. Following on from this, Manson v Robb interestingly illustrates the crucial point that every case should be assessed on its own circumstances and merits.

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