Chawla v Hewlett Packard Ltd UKEAT/427/13

The Simmons v Castle 10% uplift on damages does not apply to injury to feelings awards in employment tribunals.

The Claimant brought claims for direct disability discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments and harassment in relation to various failures to inform him of his rights.  An employment tribunal found in favour of the Claimant and awarded him:

  • £5,000.00 for injury to feelings for failing to inform him of rights to exercise share options;
  • £5,000.00 for personal injury suffered as a delay to notifying him of the above rights; and
  • £1,000.00 for injury to feelings for late acceptance to join an employment scheme.

The Claimant appealed on many grounds, but the important one for us was that there should have been a 10% uplift on the injury to feelings award, following the decision in Simmons v Castle.

Most of the points of appeal were dismissed, including the one above.  It was noted that it was not appropriate to up-rate the award in accordance with the decision in Simmons because the rationale for the uplift was that Claimant’s will no longer be able to recover the success fee or ATE premium following the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Stevens v Equity Syndicate Management Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 93

Court of Appeal guidance on calculating daily basic hire rate.

To mitigate his loss the Claimant had hired a replacement vehicle on credit hire terms.  The Claimant was not impecunious as he could have hired a vehicle without credit. By hiring a car on credit the Claimant had acquired additional benefits which were not recoverable as costs of mitigation.   Therefore, he was only able to recover the sum attributable to the Basic Hire rate of the replacement vehicle.

It was stated that the basis of the existing authority was correct, the approach to ‘strip out’ the irrecoverable costs from the basic hire rate that the Claimant had agreed to pay.  In order to do so it required a search of the lowest reasonable rate quoted by a mainstream supplier in the Claimant’s geographical area, for the basic hire rate for a vehicle of the kind in issue.  It was an objective analysis which required the court to ascertain what the basic hire rate would have been had a reasonable person in the position of the Claimant hired a vehicle on non-credit hire terms.

This decision provides some certainty in an area where it was said some Judges are still experiencing real practical difficulties in calculating the basic hire rate component.  This is partly because such claims are often low value fast track claims so the Court cannot go to the costly approach of breaking down the credit hire charges.  A reasonable approximation is therefore, to look at locally available basic hire rates for similar vehicles and take a reasonable figure from the bottom of the range.

Dawoodi v Zafrani 22/01/15 List at Central London, HHJ Bailey

The case focuses on a property owned by the claimant. It is the claimant’s main UK residence, but he travels extensively and has homes in other countries. He resides at the property at least once a month, usually for about a week.

The claimant’s property encompasses a narrow path at the back of the property. Such paths are considered fairly typical of the late 19th century building. The path is no longer used for the purpose it was built, which was to permit deliveries to the rear of the adjacent properties. By the times the claimant had acquired the property, the path was no longer in use and so the claimant took the opportunity to build a substantial shed which extended into this path.

The defendant purchased the neighbouring property to the claimants with plans to demolish the property and build a new house. The project was entrusted to his nephew to monitor.  Following erroneous advice from his architect that the claimant’s path was within his boundary, the defendant began work on his property without planning permission, service of a party wall notice or the consent of the local authority’s building control. The defendant also erected scaffolding on the claimant’s path without seeking the claimant’s consent.

In his Judgement, His Honour Judge Bailey commented that the defendant’s nephew had been wholly ill-suited and ill-equipped to supervise control of the project.  The Judge allowed damages as follows:

  • The scaffolding;
  • Debris and building materials;
  • Project manager;
  • Cost of reinstatement;
  • Temporary sheds;
  • Aggravation and inconvenience;
  • Aggravated damages;
  • Exemplary damages;

Anyone purchasing land, particularly developers, should always obtain legal advice as to the position of boundaries, and ensure compliance with planning law, building regulations and the Party Wall Acts before embarking on any demolition or constructions work, and employ competent contractors.