I wrote about the judgment in Stewart & Chergui -v- The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2017] EWHC 921 (QB), yesterday. There is no harm in repeating one element of that post in this series.  I am repeating it because someone recently said to me that it had “never occurred” to them to include anything relating to special damages in their witness statement. (Which may well go some way to explaining why we are at number 62 in this series).


In the course of a three week long High Court case the claimants claimed, among other things, special damages.  The judge commented on the evidence given by the claimants in support of their claim for special damages, taxi fares and future treatment.


“Special Damages

  1. The evidence given by both Claimants was totally unsatisfactory on the question of special damages. A factor recognised in the written submissions in which the sums claimed are reduced by 50% from the original claim. The First Claimant produced some taxi receipts which did not go to support the contention she raised. Her evidence that she was too frightened to leave the flat unless by taxi was frankly incredible. The receipts demonstrated return taxi journeys from shopping trips. Particularly as this fear was not something that she had raised with her doctor or the psychiatrist specifically instructed in these proceedings. The Second Claimant is the First Claimant’s carer but does not seem to have travelled with her in her taxi journeys. I will not speculate as to where the inspiration for this claim emanated but it is without merit.
  2. Precisely the same criticism applies to the claim made by her on behalf of the Second Claimant for taxi fares to and from south east London to visit his father. He said that he too was too scared to venture out in his immediate neighbourhood but did not begin to explain why that would necessitate taking a taxi across London.
  3. As mentioned above psychiatric evidence was called on behalf of the First Claimant. Dr Bowers gave evidence of his diagnosis based on an interview with the First Claimant on 1 August 2014 for one hour. He only had the information which she provided about the incidents, tailored by her to enhance her claim. He described her as suffering from stress caused by “prolonged and protracted intrusions into her personal space”. He found that she had previously suffered from depressive symptoms “in response to life’s stressors”. He had been asked to opine on her inability to attend courses, at that stage there was a claim for loss on this basis. It was clear that he had not previously seen all her other medical records as he was not aware that other causes, such as dizzy spells, had been the explanation for her non-attendance. He said that “absent any police action she would have needed anti-depressant” medication anyway. The sum of £2,000 is claimed for a series of privately funded counselling sessions to be carried out at some unspecified date in the future. No evidence was called to show that she had sought treatment after that diagnosis in 2014 at the hearing in 2016. I do not find any evidential basis upon which that claim is made out.”