Corbett v South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority, Court of Appeal - Civil Division, December 06, 2006, [2006] EWCA Civ 1797

Resolution Date:December 06, 2006
Issuing Organization:Civil Division
Actores:Corbett v South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority
 
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B3/2006/2519

Neutral Citation Number: [2006] EWCA Civ 1797

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM SHEFFIELD COUNTY COURT

(HIS HONOUR JUDGE BULLIMORE)

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London, WC2

Wednesday, 6th December 2006

B E F O R E:

LORD JUSTICE LAWS

LORD JUSTICE LEVESON

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CORBETT

(By His Mother and Litigation Friend Catherine Elizabeth Corbett)

CLAIMANT/RESPONDENT

- v -

SOUTH YORKSHIRE STRATEGIC HEALTH AUTHORITY

DEFENDANT/APPELLANT

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(DAR Transcript of

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MR M PORTER QC (instructed by Messrs Kennedys) appeared on behalf of the Appellant.

MR J GRACE QC & MR H TRUSTED (instructed by Messrs Irwin Mitchell) appeared on behalf of the Respondent.

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J U D G M E N T 1. LORD JUSTICE LAWS: This is the defendant's appeal against the decision of HHJ Bullimore, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, made on 24 November 2006 when he refused the defendant's application to adjourn what in the proceedings has been called ``the indexation issue''. I shall explain what that means directly. Permission to appeal was given by the judge below.

  1. The claim is an action for damages for clinical negligence. The claimant, John Corbett, was born on 31 March 1983. He suffers from cerebral palsy and has a mental age of about five. He is a patient of the Court of Protection. In April 2004, acting by his mother as litigation friend under the clinical negligence protocol, the claimant intimated a claim against the hospital authorities, seeking to hold them responsible for brain injury sustained by him at birth which was said to have led to his present and continuing condition. At length, proceedings were issued in August 2005. Liability was admitted the following month and thereafter substantial interim payments were made: £50,000 in October 2005, and £450,000 in December 2005.

  2. The trial of the quantum of damages has been fixed for 18 December 2006, thus less than a fortnight off, though in fact there has been substantial agreement. All heads of loss, save for future care and case management, have been agreed in the total capital sum of £1,655,000. In addition the whole life multiplier has been agreed at 28.12. Thus only two issues remain, namely the cost of future care and case management, and the indexation issue. The latter arises in this way: if, as the claimant will submit, future loss by way of care and case management is to be compensated by an award of periodical payments, the court will have to decide how inflation, or theoretically deflation, in the cost of the relevant provision is to be measured for the purpose of fixing the periodical payments to be made as time goes by. Should it be by reference to the retail price index (``the RPI'') or to a different index such as the average earnings index (``the AEI''), the ASAT median (annual survey of hours and earnings, median earnings level), or the ASAG6115, which is the annual survey of hours and earnings, occupational earnings for care assistants of home carers. Care and case management costs have historically risen at a faster rate than the RPI and the claimant will seek to apply an index other than the RPI.

  3. In order...

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