Hugh Martins v Mohammed Choudhary [2007] EWCA Civ 1379

Defendant appealed against an award of damages for injury to feelings and psychiatric injury to the Claimant where Defendant allegedly pursued a course of conduct against the Claimant including making racist remarks and deliberately colliding with Claimant’s vehicle. Judge had found that the conduct amounted to statutory tort of harassment and Claimant had developed a generalised anxiety state following the collision. Defendant continued to harass Claimant’s witnesses, after the liability trial and before the quantum hearing, in breach of an injunction restraining him from harassing Claimant and his family.

Grounds of appeal: (i) Judge had wrongly made an award for symptoms caused by events occurring after the liability hearing, (ii) separate awards should not have been made and (iii) the sums awarded were manifestly excessive.

Held: Judge was justified in making separate awards for psychiatric harm and injury to feelings. Deciding whether to make separate awards would depend upon the individual case. In the instant case the psychiatric injury was not insubstantial and it was helpful to the parties for the award to be separated. The Judge had referred to events occurring after the liability hearing only in the context of the delayed recovery as a result of the prolonged litigation and Defendant’s conduct in breaching the injunction, and had not treated those matters as fresh torts.