On the first ground, the Court of Appeal found that the trial judge was perfectly entitled to conclude, on the evidence before her, that it was reasonably foreseeable that an injury would be caused if a customer was launched on a ride without warning. Contrary to the defendant’s submissions, the trial judge took proper account of the evidence before her, including the guidance provided by the manufacturers of the ride, supportive expert evidence, the defendant’s own guidelines and practice relating to operating the equipment. Findings of fact would not be interfered with. This aspect of the appeal was dismissed.
In relation to the second ground, the court reasserted in no uncertain terms that the Judicial College Guidelines are guidelines only, and are not intended to fetter a judge’s discretion about the appropriate award in a specific case. At trial, the claimant was awarded £12,000 for pain, suffering and general loss of amenity plus an additional £5,000 to compensate for the considerable inconvenience of being unable to drive a car for two years. This was considered to be a perfectly reasonable assessment of damages, even though it fell outside the upper bracket in the guidelines. This aspect of the appeal was also dismissed.
The Judicial College Guidelines are guidelines only and a judge is entitled to award above the bracket given, depending on the case’s specific factual matrix.
Summarised by Adam Dyl and Louise Taylor, Anthony Gold Solicitors