Louis Browne acts for Ministry of Defence in successful appeal to the Court of Appeal

July 24, 2015

Louis Browne from Exchange Chambers has acted for the Ministry of Defence (the defendant) in its successful appeal against the quantum of damages awarded in a personal injury action.

In Billet v MOD, the principal issue was how the court should assess damages for loss of future earning capacity in circumstances where the claimant suffers from a minor disability, is in steady employment and is earning at his full pre-accident rate.

The question was whether the court should follow the traditional Smith v Manchester approach or use the Ogden Tables, suitably adjusted.  Louis Browne, acting for the Ministry of Defence, successfully argued for the Smith v Manchester approach.

It was held that, in the particular circumstances of this case, the court cannot do better than carry out a general assessment in accordance with the guidance given in Smith v Manchester Corporation (1974) 17 KIR 1 and Moeliker v A. Reyrolle & Co Ltd [1977] 1 WLR 132.  As such the award was reduced from £99,062.04 to £45,000.

Commenting on the case, Louis Browne said:

“This was an important appeal, as it was the first occasion upon which the Court of Appeal has considered the application of Tables A to D, which were incorporated into the Ogden Tables in 2006.  It gives defendants dealing with less serious cases of personal injury disability claims the opportunity to contend for a handicap on the open labour market award.”

Louis Browne was instructed by Kennedys.