Cobham Hire Services Ltd v Eeles: CA 13 Mar 2009

The court was asked what is the correct approach to the making of an interim payment in a heavy personal injury claim where the damages, when finally assessed, are likely to include one or more periodical payments orders pursuant to section 2 of the Damages Act 1996. The Act, as amended provided for the court to make an award of damages which could include one or more Periodical Payment Orders. This made it necessary to examine what was the correct approach to the making of an interim payment where the damages, when finally assessed, could include such orders.
Smith LJ described the approach which a judge should take when applications are made for an interim payment in a case in which the trial judge may wish to make a periodic payments order: ‘The judge’s first task is to assess the likely amount of the final judgment, leaving out of account the heads of future loss which the trial judge might wish to deal with by PPO. Strictly speaking, the assessment should comprise only special damages to date and damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, with interest on both. However, we consider that the practice of awarding accommodation costs (including future running costs) as a lump sum is sufficiently well established that it will usually be appropriate to include accommodation costs in the expected capital award. The assessment should be carried out on a conservative basis. Save in the circumstances discussed below, the interim payment will be a reasonable proportion of that assessment. A reasonable proportion may well be a high proportion, provided that the assessment has been conservative. The objective is not to keep the claimant out of his money but to avoid any risk of over-payment.
For this part of the process, the judge need have no regard as to what the claimant intends to do with the money. If he is of full age and capacity, he may spend it as he will; if not, expenditure will be controlled by the Court of Protection.
We turn to the circumstances in which the judge will be entitled to include in his assessment of the likely amount of the final judgment additional elements of future loss. That can be done when the judge can confidently predict that the trial judge will wish to award a larger capital sum than that covered by general and special damages, interest and accommodation costs alone. We endorse the approach of Stanley Burnton J in Braithwaite. Before taking such a course, the judge must be satisfied by evidence that there is a real need for the interim payment requested. For example, where the request is for money to buy a house, he must be satisfied that there is a real need for accommodation now (as opposed to after the trial) and that the amount of money requested is reasonable. He does not need to decide whether the particular house proposed is suitable; that is a matter for the Court of Protection. But the judge must not make an interim payment order without first deciding whether expenditure of approximately the amount he proposes to award is reasonably necessary. If the judge is satisfied of that, to a high degree of confidence, then he will be justified in predicting that the trial judge would take that course and he will be justified in assessing the likely amount of the final award at such a level as will permit the making of the necessary interim award.


Dyson, Smith, Thomas LJJ


[2009] EWCA Civ 204, [2009] CP Rep 29, [2009] PIQR P15, [2009] LS Law Medical 274




Damages Act 1996 2


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedPreston v City Electrical Factors Ltd and Another QBD 13-Nov-2009
The claimant had received andpound;100,000 in interim payments on his personal injury claim, and now sought a further similar sum.
Held: The claim was thought substantial, but the defendants said that any final award would include an . .
CitedBrown ( A Minor) v Emery QBD 4-Mar-2010
The court considered an application for an interim payment to fund the purchase of suitable accommodation in which the child claimant might spend periods of time with her parents and sibling and ultimately reside on discharge, at a cost of . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Damages

Updated: 07 December 2022; Ref: scu.317974