Case details

Scott (Appellant) v The Attorney General and another (Respondent) (Bahamas)

Case ID: JCPC 2016/0042

Jurisdiction: The Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas

Case summary

Issue

The proper approach to the assessment of general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities, in particular whether damages assessed by reference to the English Judicial Studies Board Guidelines ("the JSB Guidelines") should be adjusted upwards to reflect the higher cost of living in the Bahamas.

Facts

In December 1998, Mr Scott was assaulted by members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. He suffered multiple injuries in consequence, including paraplegia, concussion, headaches, loss of sexual sensation, inability to control his bowel and bladder, dizziness and pain in his left ear. The issue of liability was determined in his favour in January 2010, and at an assessment hearing in 2012 he was awarded a total of $886,089.52 in damages, of which $257,000.00 comprised general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities. 5% of the total award ($38,553.98) was deducted to reflect "disabilities benefits" said to have been paid to Mr Scott. Following an appeal by Mr Scott, the Court of Appeal increased the award of general damages to $325,000.00 and restored the $38,553.98 which had been deducted. Mr Scott appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council on the basis that the Court of Appeal:

  1. failed to adjust the award upwards from the amount set by the JSB Guidelines so as to reflect the higher cost of living in the Bahamas;
  2. erred in only awarding damages for Mr Scott’s head injury close to the middle of the scale of the JSB Guidelines;
  3. erred in equating Mr Scott’s claimed loss of sexual sensation with injury to his reproductive system; and
  4. erred in holding that Mr Scott’s inability to control his bowel and bladder was as a result of his paraplegia rather than because of direct injury to those organs.

Parties

Appellant(s)

Shorn Scott (aka Shawn Scott)

Respondent(s)
  1. The Attorney General
  2. The Commissioner of Police

Appeal

Justices

Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed, Lord Hughes

Hearing start date

20 Feb 2017

Hearing finish date

20 Feb 2017