Knauer v Ministry of Justice: SC 24 Feb 2016

The court was asked: ‘whether the current approach to assessing the financial losses suffered by the dependant of a person who is wrongfully killed properly reflects the fundamental principle of full compensation, and if it does not whether we should depart from previous decisions of the House of Lords.’
Held: The correct date as at which to assess the multiplier when fixing damages for future loss in claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 should be the date of trial and not the date of death. The court could not follow the Cookson and Graham cases.
It was emphasised that, because of the importance of the role of precedent and the need for certainty and consistency in the law, the Supreme Court ‘should be very circumspect before accepting an invitation to invoke the 1966 Practice Statement’.


Lord Neuberger, President, Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke
Lord Reed
Lord Toulson, Lord Hodge


[2016] UKSC 9, [2016] 4 All ER 897, [2016] 2 WLR 672, [2016] WLR(D) 103, (2016) 150 BMLR 16, [2016] PIQR P10


Bailii, Bailii Summary, WLRD


England and Wales


CitedTaylor v O’Connor HL 1970
The appellant driver had caused a car accident in 1965, in which the respondent’s husband died. The respondent sought damages under the Fatal Accidents Acts for herself then aged 52 and for her 18 year old daughter. The husband died aged 53 and a . .
Appeal fromKnauer v Ministry of Justice QBD 24-Jul-2014
The deceased died of mesothelioma after working for the defendant as an administrative assistant in buildings constructed using asbestos. . .
CitedA Train and Sons Ltd v Fletcher CA 24-Apr-2008
Appeal re award of interest on claim under Fatal Accidents Act.
Hooper LJ confessed: ‘I do not understand why chronological years are deducted from the multiplier’. . .
CitedA v Hoare HL 30-Jan-2008
Each of six claimants sought to pursue claims for damages for sexual assaults which would otherwise be time barred under the 1980 Act after six years. They sought to have the House depart from Stubbings and allow a discretion to the court to extend . .
Not followedCookson v Knowles HL 24-May-1978
The House described the approach to the calculation of damages for a dependency under the Fatal Accidents Acts.
Held: The multipliers in Fatal Accidents Act cases should be calculated from the date of death.
Sections 3 and 4 mark a . .
CitedGammell v Wilson; Furness v Massey HL 1982
In each case, the deceased, died as a result of the defendants’ negligence. The parents claimed damages for themselves as dependants under the 1976 Act, and for the estate under the 1934 Act. The claims under the 1976 Act were held to have been . .
Not FollowedGraham v Dodds HL 1983
A court dealing with personal injury claims normally makes a discount in respect of damages for the future loss of earnings
Lord Bridge said ‘The only issue arising in this appeal which is strictly one of law is whether, in assessing damages . .
CitedCorbett v Barking Havering and Brentwood Health Authority CA 1991
The Claimant was a child who would have been dependant on his deceased young mother only until adulthood. When the trial took place the infant Plaintiff was 11.5 with a dependency until the age of 18. As the multiplier calculated as at the date of . .
CitedWells v Wells; Thomas v Brighton Health Authority; etc HL 16-Jul-1998
In each of three cases, the plaintiffs had suffered serious injury. They complained that the court had made a substantial reduction of their damages award for loss of future earnings and the costs of future care.
Held: The appeals succeeded. . .
CitedHorton v Sadler and Another HL 14-Jun-2006
The claimant had been injured in a road traffic accident for which the defendant was responsible in negligence. The defendant was not insured, and so a claim was to be made against the MIB. The plaintiff issued proceedings just before the expiry of . .
CitedWhite (Widow and Administratrix of the Estate of David Charles White Deceased) v Esab Group (UK) Ltd QBD 11-Oct-2001
. .
CitedATH and another (Executors of the Estate of M, decd) v MS CA 11-Jun-2002
The claimants were the children of the deceased, seeking damages following the death of their mother. At the time of the death they were not living with their father but moved to live with him after the death. They claimed damages for the services . .

Cited by:

CitedWillers v Joyce and Another (Re: Gubay (Deceased) No 2) SC 20-Jul-2016
The Court was asked whether and in what circumstances a lower court may follow a decision of the Privy Council which has reached a different conclusion from that of the House of Lords (or the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal) on an earlier occasion. . .
CitedPatel v Mirza SC 20-Jul-2016
The claimant advanced funds to the respondent for him to invest in a bank of which the claimant had insider knowledge. In fact the defendant did not invest the funds, the knowledge was incorrect. The defendant however did not return the sums . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Damages

Updated: 02 May 2022; Ref: scu.560236