Herring v Ministry of Defence: CA 10 Apr 2003

The claimant had suffered serious injury in a parachuting accident which deprived him of the opportunity of pursuing his chosen career in the police force. The judge found ‘to the extent of virtual certainty’ that he would have applied to join the police when the time was right, probably when he was aged 30, and that there was a strong likelihood that his application would have been successful. The claimant sought damages for personal injuries. The issue at appeal was how the future loss of earnings was to be calculated to allow for the anticipated career. The claimamt complained that the judge had applied too great a discount to the normal Ogden Tables.
Held: The court had to look to the most likely future career and earnings of the claimant. Where he was not yet in an established job, it might be possible to select an appropriate career model and apply an appropriate multiplicand. If not an average earnings figure could be applied. Where it was to be based upon a specified anticipated career, the chance of leaving that career might not be significant where he could expect similar remuneration elsewhere. Such assessments had not traditionally involved percentage calculations for loss of a chance based on the acts of third parties. Where a specified career was envisaged, the percentage reduction method would normally be inappropriate. It should not have been used here, and the reduction in the multiplier was itself reduced, increasing the award.


Lord Justice Potter Lord Justice Tuckey Mr Justice Wall


[2003] EWCA Civ 528, Times 11-Apr-2003, Gazette 19-Jun-2003, [2004] 1 All ER 44




England and Wales


CitedAllied Maples Group Ltd v Simmons and Simmons CA 12-May-1995
Lost chance claim – not mere speculative claim
Solicitors failed to advise the plaintiffs sufficiently in a property transaction. A warranty against liability for a former tenant’s obligations under leases had not been obtained. The trial judge held that, on a balance of probabilities, there was . .
CitedLangford v Hebran and Another CA 15-Mar-2001
The claimant sought damages for the loss of his chances of pursuing his career as a kick-boxer. The judge considered four different courses of varying success which his career might have taken. He accepted that, whether or not those scenarios had . .
CitedDoyle (By Her Mother and Next Friend) v Wallace CA 18-Jun-1998
A court awarding personal injury damages could make allowance for a prospective increase in salary which a claimant might have achieved upon completion of qualifications. In this case an increase was allowed at half up from an administrative pay . .

Cited by:

CitedDixon v Were QBD 26-Oct-2004
The claimant and others were being driven by the defendant. All had drunk, and none wore seat belts. The claimant sought damages for his injuries. General damages were agreed, and the issue was as to loss of future earnings.
Held: The claimant . .
CitedBrown v Ministry of Defence CA 10-May-2006
Claim for injury suffered whilst training in Army. The claimant was committed to a career in the Army, and had anticipated promotion. She complained that her loss of pension rights had been calculated at a rate to reflect an average length career. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Damages, Personal Injury

Updated: 12 December 2022; Ref: scu.180706