PROVING THINGS 85: AN INABILITY TO PROVE EVEN A SMALL SUM MEANS IT WILL NOT BE AWARDED

Many of the issues that have been looked at in the Proving Things series have been in relation to failures to prove substantial issues, or substantial sums. However the need to prove things is a universal requirement.  I want to look at one, very small, issue arising out of the judgment in Foreman v Williams [2017] EWHC 3370 (QB) Peter Marquand (sitting as a High Court judge).

THE CASE

The judge was assessing damages in a case where the defendant had not participated in the action and did not attend at trial.

THE CLAIM FOR LOSS OF PENSION

The claimant was awarded his loss of earnings. He also made a claim for loss of pension.

“Loss of Pension

  1. The Claimant sought £400.80 by way of lost pension contributions during the time that his earnings were reduced. However, at the hearing the Claimant conceded that he was unable to claim his own pension contribution losses as this would amount double recovery given the award for loss of earnings. He was also unable to evidence the employer’s pension contribution. There is therefore nothing to award under this head of claim”

THE NEED FOR EVIDENCE OF THE EMPLOYER’S CONTRIBUTION

The sums involved on this occasion would have been very small. However this case highlights the need to formulate a claim for damages properly and have the evidence available at trial.  It would not have been a difficult matter to enquire, and obtain evidence, of the employer’s pension contribution.  The amounts may be small but if a claimant is facing a Part 36 contribution then the miscasting, or inability to prove, a head of damages could have major consequences.  It is worthwhile asking for details’s of an employer’s pension contribution at the same time as seeking details of loss of earnings. This would involve very little (if any) extra effort and no measurable increase in costs.