Hill v Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice Lynch
Judgment Date01 January 1990
Neutral Citation1989 WJSC-HC 1686
Date01 January 1990
Docket NumberNo 119/1989

1989 WJSC-HC 1686

THE HIGH COURT

No 119/1989
HILL v. CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL
JUDICIAL REVIEW

BETWEEN

KATHLEEN ANGELA HILL
APPLICANT

AND

THE CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL
RESPONDENTS

Citations:

REDDY V BATES 1984 ILRM 197

KEEGAN, STATE V STARDUST COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL 1986 IR 642, 1987 ILRM 202

ASSOCIATED PROVINCIAL PICTURE HOUSES LTD V WEDNESBURY CORPORATION 1948 1 KB 223, 1947 2 AER 680

CREEDON, STATE V CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL 1988 IR 51

ANHEUSER BUSCH INCORPORATED V CONTROLLER OF PATENTS DESIGNS & TRADE MARKS 1988 ILRM 247

DALY, STATE V MIN AGRICULTURE 1988 ILRM 173

SEXTON V O'KEEFFE 1966 IR 204

R V CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION TRIBUNAL 1984 3 AER 572

MCMORROW V KNOTT see MCMAHON & BINCHY A CASEBOOK ON THE IRISH LAW OF TORTS P612

Synopsis:

DAMAGES

Assessment

Criminal injuries - Compensation - Husband - Death - Claim of dependants - Compensation awarded by tribunal - Major error in tribunal's decision - Judicial review - Held, in quashing the award, that the respondents" decision had been based on an erroneous assumption that a major part of the applicant's claim had not been established - Held that, consequently, the respondents" decision was at variance with reason and common sense: ~The State (Creedon) v. Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal~ [1988] I.R. 51, [1989] ILRM 104; ~The State (Keegan) v. Stardust Compensation Tribunal~ [1986] I.R. 642, [1987] ILRM 202 and ~Reddy v. Bates~ [1984] ILRM 197 considered - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Article 34 - (1989/119 JR - Lynch J. - 21/7/89) [1990] ILRM 36

|Hill v. Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal|

CRIMINAL INJURIES

Compensation

Assessment - Tribunal - Decision - Error - Judicial review - ~See~ Damages, assessment-(1989/119 JR - Lynch J. - 21/7/89)[1990] ILRM 36

|Hill v. Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal|

JUDICIAL REVIEW

Tribunal

Decision - Reasonableness - Erroneous assumption - Criminal injuries - Assessment of compensation - ~See~ Damages, assessment - (1989/119 JR - Lynch J. - 21/7/89) [1990] ILRM 36

|Hill v. Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal|

TRIBUNAL

Decision

Review - Criminal injuries - Compensation - Assessment - Award - Erroneous assumption - ~See~ Damages, assessment - (1989/119 JR - Lynch J. - 21/7/89) [1990] ILRM 36

|Hill v. Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal|

1

Judgment of Mr. Justice Lynchdelivered the 21st day of July 1989.

2

This is an Application for an Order of Certiorari by way of Judicial Review to quash an Order of the Respondents awarding compensation to the Applicant under the scheme of compensation for personal injuries criminally inflicted (the Scheme) and for an Order of Mandamus directing the Respondents to rehear the application for such compensation.

The Facts
3

The Applicant is the widow and a dependant of Samuel David Hill (the deceased) who was stabbed to death on the 5th of April 1986. The person responsible for the death was found guilty of murder but insane and no issue arose as to the right of the Applicant to maintain a claim under the Scheme.

4

The deceased was born on the 15th of October 1948 and was therefore thirty nine and a half years old at the date of his death. The Applicant was born on the 29th of August 1947 and was therefore forty years eight months old at the time of the death. The Applicant and the deceased had three children of their marriage namely Claire born the 8th of September 1974: James born the 20th of March 1978, and Jonathan born the 2nd of February 1983.

5

The Applicant's claim for compensation came before the Respondents for oral hearing on the 15th of February 1989. The Applicant was represented by Solicitor and Counsel and was present herself as also was an actuary retained by the Applicant's Solicitor to give evidence on behalf of the Applicant as to the financial loss suffered by the Applicant and her children as a result of the death of the deceased. The usual documentation required by the Respondents had previously been furnished to them and the actuary gave evidence to the Respondents and produced further documentation in support of his evidence and the claim in general. The documentation included the deceased's P45 form and a letter from his employers dated the 11th of September 1987 confirming that his employment was secure and his prospects excellent. From the documentation it was established that the deceased's take-home pay at the date of his death was £210 per week the deceasedbeing employed at that time as a Warehouse Manager. No question was raised by the Respondents as to the deceased's wages or employment prospects. The only doubtful problem about the financial loss to the dependants was as to the proportion of the deceased's earnings which he kept for himself and which went on his upkeep alone and the proportion which was applied to overheads and to his widow and childrenrespectively.

6

It was the custom of the deceased to give his wife the Applicant£75 cash each week for food and he then paid all overheads and many other items of family expenditure. Consequently the Applicant was not able to be positive or precise as to the amounts so expended by the deceased. In those circumstances the actuary with the assistance of the Solicitor went through the usual items of such expenditure with the Applicant in an effort to reach some reasonable estimate thereof. The resultant figure however totalled £327.45 per week and was obviously too high and had to be scaled down if it were to match the take-home pay of the deceased of £210 per week. The actuary however used these expenditure figures totalling £327.45 to arrive at a percentage to be attributable to the deceased and a percentage to be attributed to overheads and to the Applicant and to each child respectively. The actuary explained in his evidence to the Respondents that the percentage so arrived at by him as attributable to the deceased was significantly higher than usual in such cases but that he had adopted it nevertheless because it was the percentage which the best estimate of the family expenditure that the Applicant could give had thrown up. The estimated expenditure of £327.45 per week bore approximatley the same relationship to the net take-home pay of the deceased of £210 per week as the figure 3bears to the figure 2. In making his calculations the actuary also added in a figure of £10 per week as the value of the deceased's work as a handyman around the home making in effect the income to the family£220 per week but this does not significantly alter the relationship of that figure to £327.45 per week as one of three totwo.

7

Working on the net take-home pay of £210 per week and the£10 value of services in the home and working on the percentage for each dependant that is to say the Applicant and her three children calculated from the list of expenditure of £327.45 per week and making the various deductions in respect of the matters provided to be...

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