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Claims for Damages in the Court of Appeal - Case Study Example

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In this study, the author demonstrates the case of appellants and  Chief Constable of Sussex Police in the trial court. The issue in contention here is the validity of the appellants’ allegations supporting their claims for damages on the ground of psychiatric injury…
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Claims for Damages in the Court of Appeal
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Download file to see previous pages Secondary victims may successfully claim on the ground of pure physical injury as what happened in McLoughlin v O’Brian, where the Court held that secondary victims may claim on the ground of psychiatric injury in cases that the claimant is a close relative of the primary victim and the former was able to witness by reason of physical proximity which made witnessing or hearing the accident possible. In determining whether the present case will present positive prospects of recovery, the Court classified the appellants as to whether they could be secondary victims at the very least. The pivotal incident, in this case, was the shooting of Mr. Ashley, an incident that was not witnessed by the appellants. They were not, therefore, secondary victims. The psychiatric injury caused by that event upon the appellants was indirect and stemmed from the stress that the subsequent disciplinary and criminal proceedings that followed after it. The lower court, according to Lord Phillips, is not empowered to extend the law on negligence by accommodating the claims of the appellants.
The case that the appellants relied upon, viz. Waters v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis is not applicable to the case at bar, according to Lord Phillips, because it contemplates of “bullying” in the workplace, which the employer failed to stop, and not a novel extension of the duty of care. In winding his discussion, Lord Phillips quoted Lord Steyn in the Frost. case: “My Lords, the law on the recovery of compensation for pure psychiatric harm is a patchwork quilt of distinctions which are difficult to justify. […] The only prudent course is to treat the pragmatic categories as reflected in authoritative decisions such as the Alcock case [1992] 1 AC 310 and Page v Smith [1996] AC 155 as settled for the time being, but by and large to leave any expansion or development in this corner of the law to Parliament. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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