Case reinforces limited actuary use - Prigmore v Welbourne

(Queen's Bench Division - 21 November 2003) On the question of care for the deceased's disabled dau...

(Queen's Bench Division - 21 November 2003)

On the question of care for the deceased's disabled daughter following a fatal accident, there was an issue between the parties as to the appropriate multiplicand and relevant date for the multiplier, namely whether the provision of care should be calculated from the date of death or the trial.

The district judge took into account the explanatory note from the Ogden Tables (4th Edition), which recommends actuarial evidence in complex cases or cases where the accuracy of the multiplier is thought by the parties to be of critical importance, and ordered that an actuary be instructed on a joint basis to provide expert evidence.

The instruction of an actuary was held to be wrong on appeal. The Law Commission and the Ogden Working Party had already analysed the date from which the multiplier should be calculated, the appropriate date being a matter of law. The amount of the multiplicand and appropriate period for care are issues of fact. The fact that the Court of Protection was involved in this case was irrelevant.

Although the judge has such discretion, in the majority of cases the Ogden Tables will suffice. In this case, the main difference between the parties' figures for care arose not out of a discrepancy with the multiplier but by the multiplicand itself, which is a matter of fact.

COMMENT: This decision reinforces the purpose of the Ogden Tables in providing a simple and certain, although not perfect, source from which parties can make appropriate calculations. Actuarial evidence will only be allowed in exceptional cases. Rebecca Waller, BLM London.

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