A DIFFICULT HEAD OF DAMAGE THAT MAY MAKE THE JUDGE WANT TO RETIRE: BOOK REVIEW: PIBA GUIDE TO PENSION LOSS CALCULATION: JAMES ROWLEY Q.C. & MATTHEW WHITE
The loss, or reduction, of income due to a personal injury is one of the primary concerns to most victims. Loss of earnings is a matter that is often under-explored in many texts relating to damages. This is even more so in relation to the loss of, or reduction, in pension income. That is why the little gem of a book “A PIBA Guide to Pension Loss Calculation” is so welcome.
THE CHANGING CASE OF PENSION LOSS
The book itself documents how claims for pension loss have moved from a relatively minor element of a claim to something more central. I would advise you to start reading the book at section 6 (which is only page 15).
Firstly the sums involved have become larger. The impact of a negative discount rate, increased life expectancy and the possibility of a large multiplier means “Even comparatively small differences in pension now magnify into really significant sums of money”.
Add to this the major shift in the nature of pensions has added to the practitioner’s problems. There is not even an agreed definition of what a “pension” is. “Sources of potential income in later life”, appears to be a preferred definition.
DOES THE BOOK HELP?
It certainly does.
- Firstly it explains the nature of different types of pension, “personal pensions”, “workplace pensions”, “money purchase schemes” and “defined benefit schemes”.
- Secondly it illustrates the impact of early retirement.
- It goes on to to consider the evidence that needs to be gathered in support of a claim for pension loss and give general tips as to calculation.
- It considers matters such as claims for pension loss made early and/or in a speculative career.
- There is a detailed consideration of individual schemes, all in the state sector, varying from the NHS to judges.
GOOD ADVICE: SEARCHING FOR THE MIDDLE WAY
One difficulty in presenting pension loss, indeed many types of loss, is making the schedule both understandable and credible. this is recognised at p.45
“Good schedules of loss follow the way good lawyers, particularly good judges, think and operate. There are numerous programmes available to generate calculations of future losses but they often do so in a way that makes the later oral presentation of the case to a judge almost impossible. Expert reports, from accountants and particularly actuaries, on the other hand often provide impeccably presented and clear tables but the legal underpinnings are doubtful.
As a general rule of advocacy, if it looks too complicated on paper, it will be too complicated to present in court (or, indeed in negotiation) with much confidence in obtaining the desired result. But, it will be objected, calculating pension loss can be complicated; so it can. Some middle way, exhibiting the legal underpinnings, as part of the workings, must be devised.”
THE BOOK REVIEW QUESTIONS?
- Should I buy it? If you are involved in personal injury claims which involve a loss of earnings then I think you should.
- Is it value for money? At £67.50 I think it is.
- Where can I buy it? Through the link here.
READ BEFORE YOU BUY
Farrar’s Building have put up a copy of the first few pages (including the very helpful glossary) have a read through here