06 July 2017

Injury to feelings - increase in the compensation bands

In July 2012 the Court of Appeal ruled in the case of Simmons v Castle that a 10% increase in non-pecuniary damages should be applied to personal injury and other similar cases in the civil courts.  Following this case there has been some debate as to whether this applied to injury to feelings awards in discrimination cases.
The debate has now been resolved by the Court of Appeal.  Underhill LJ decided in the recent case of De Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Limited, that the 10% uplift should be applied because section 124(6) of the Equality Act 2010 requires discrimination awards to correspond with awards made in the county courts.  
This means the Vento bands for compensation for injury to feelings should therefore be 10% higher than they were.  In his judgment Underhill LJ set out that "the Vento figures themselves require updating for inflation, as was done in Da' Bell but several years ago. It would kill two birds with one stone if fresh guidance were issued which adjusted the Vento figures both for inflation and so as to incorporate the Simmons v Castle uplift.  Although that could be done in the context of a particular case, as in Da' Bell, it occurs to me that it might be better done in the form of published guidance from the President of the Employment Tribunals (England and Wales) and/or the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal".  In the meantime, tribunals will have to do their own adjustment.

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