Derek Sweeting QC and Richard Baker of 7BR obtained a settlement of £800,000 for accommodation in the appeal in JR v Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. The appeal followed the decision of William Davis J, in the High Court in April 2017, that claims for accommodation calculated by reference to the formula in Roberts v Johnstone could not be made following the change in discount rate to -0.75% in March 2017. The appellant argued that the Court of Appeal should revisit the approach to accommodation claims based upon a multiplier/multiplicand formula and instead award damages based upon the difference between the accommodation that the Claimant would have purchased or rented uninjured and his needs arising out of his disability. William Davis J had assessed the appropriate purchase price for the Claimant’s accommodation at £900,000. The Claimant accepted an offer of £800,000, being that cost less a reasonable valuation for the accommodation that the Claimant would have purchased or rented uninjured. In recommending that settlement to the Court of Appeal this morning, Derek Sweeting QC observed that: “The net effect [of this settlement] is that the Appellant has achieved its primary submission on the appeal, i.e. he has been compensated on the basis of the full purchase price of the house. The entire purpose of the appeal from JR’s perspective has been achieved. It would not have made sense to proceed given the offer”. Before approving the settlement Lord Justice Jackson, observed that: “It is clear that sooner or later this Court is going to have to grapple with the Roberts v Johnstone issues in the new world. There may be cases on the list in due course doing that. Nothing that we say today must be taken as pre-empting what this court will decide following argument…The Defendant has the luxury of choosing the case that will be argued…There can be no dispute that this settlement is favourable to JR”.
As part of the settlement, the Defendant agreed not to proceed with its appeal on the issue of lost years.
This is the second important accommodation case that Derek and Richard have been involved in before the Court of Appeal, having successfully represented the Claimant in the case of Manna v Central Manchester Teaching Hospitals earlier this year.
Further information on the case and Derek and Richard’s views on the future of claims for accommodation will follow.