We previously reported on the Jersey case of X Children v the Minister for Health (2018), in edition 237 of BC Disease News (here). This case is regarded as being the biggest personal injury claim in British history, as the claimants of abuse are seeking £238 million in damages, a figure which has been inflated by a discount rate of (–)3.75%.
At the trial on Quantum, which has been scheduled to last 8 weeks, the court has since heard from the Attorney General, Robert MacRae.[i] He has written to both claimant and defendant counsel to find out if the parties would be conducive to a periodic payment order (PPO), in the alternative to a lump sum award of damages.
When the trial commenced, both parties were in agreement that a lump sum would be the favourable method of payment.
In light of the AG’s correspondence, however, the parties’ positions now differ.
Advocate Lee Ingram, on behalf of the defendant, now considers the possibility of a PPO to be a ‘live issue’, since there is now ‘greater certainty’ about the claimants’ future care needs.
By contrast, Advocate David Benest, representing the claimants’ continued interest in a lump sum award, told the court that the AG has disrupted the case ‘very late in the day’, when his insight was not ‘wanted or needed’:
‘If the States thought there should be a regime of PPOs it should not do so in this way. It should do so properly and in the way that the Parliament has done in the UK’.
In addition, contrary to the submissions of defendant counsel, he submitted that there is no certainty about the claimants’ future care requirements.
Commissioner Pamela Scriven QC, presiding over the trial, directed the AG to apply to the Royal Court within seven days if he intends to formally intervene in the case. She also directed Advocate Ingram to set out details of a PPO by Tuesday of this week.[ii]
If an award is eventually made by way of PPO, this would also mean that X Children is the first Jersey case to award damages by this method. However, the Royal Court’s capacity to impose such an order is currently unknown.
We will continue to provide updates on this case as the trial continues.
[i] ‘Child siblings who were subjected to incest and forced to eat off the floor in their family home sue for £238million in the largest personal injury claim in British legal history’ (14 July 2018 Daily Mail) <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5953981/Siblings-subjected-incest-family-home-sue-238million.html> accessed 17 July 2018.
[ii] Krysta Eaves, ‘AG told not to ‘poke nose’ into £238 million abuse case’ (13 July 2018 Jersey Evening Post) <https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2018/07/13/ag-told-not-to-poke-nose-into-238-million-abuse-case/> accessed 17 July 2018.