The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.
The current Zeitgeist is for HR civilians to refuse applications of Injury Awards by just saying they think, in their view, that the application isn’t substantiated. Of course they say this because they have an agenda … they would rather no-one has an Injury Award, and they made it a war of attrition and as difficult as possible for the injured officer to get what they are entitled to.
Quite often they use weasel excuses and imagine up some make-believe duty along the lines that the Regulations places the onus upon the Police Pensions Authority (PPA) in the first instance to decide if any injury award is payable, prior to any submission to a Medical Authority. i.e to determine if any incidents had occurred that would justify referral to a medical authority who would determine amongst other things, causation.
The trouble is that there is no such onus for the PPA to predetermine entitlement and the reality is quite the reverse. It is not up to the PPA to decide on the merits of any claim for an injury award.
Let us examine Home Office Circular 34/1996. Section D Paragraphs 6 to 9 covers the consideration of Injury Awards.
We can no longer recommend that a police authority undertake a preliminary consideration of these issues before formal referral to the medical practitioner
There you have it. Clear as day.
The Home Office stated 20 years ago that a police pension authority must refer the question of an ill-health award or an injury on duty award to a medical practitioner for decision and their view is that such a referral must be made as soon as the authority is aware of either permanent disablement or injury on duty as an issue for consideration.
Interestingly the Home Office circular says “Although we are not aware of any court decisions, which have a binding authority, there has been a trend of decisions, which has now made it appropriate for us to revise our guidance.”
Ever helpful, IODPA can happily say we can edify all those reading this to become aware of the court decisions that have binding authority on this matter. These decisions occurred after the prescient recommendations in HOC 34/1996.
Firstly there is:
R -V- Merseyside Police Authority Ex Parte YATES CO/4181/97,  EWHC Admin 157.
This case concerned the defendant Police Authority establishing that an application for judicial review of a police authority decision under the Regulations was not appropriate because the statutory provision in the Regulations provided an effective remedy for the applicant to appeal to the Crown Court. The important point determined here is the fact that the remedy within the Regulations means that the decision has to be always made by the medical practitioner.
Latham J stated:
I do not, however, consider that the Regulations permit anything other than a literal reading. The questions which are to be referred to the medical practitioner under Regulation H1(2) are unambiguous, and the answers given by the medical practitioner are, pursuant to Regulation H1(4) to be final. The answers will determine the claim subject to the rights of appeal. This produces an unsatisfactory result. If the claimant is dissatisfied with the answers of the medical practitioner as to the facts upon which his opinion is based, he has an appeal to the Crown Court; if he is aggrieved by reason of the medical practitioner’s opinion, then he has an appeal to the medical referee; if he is aggrieved by the medical practitioner’s conclusions as to law as to whether or not an injury was received in the execution of duty, it would appear that he can only challenge the matter by way of judicial review.
Latham J continues
It follows that a Police Authority is not entitled to pre-empt the answers of the medical practitioner by coming to adverse conclusions as to fact, or law, in relation to the claim in order to avoid reference to the medical practitioner
And then there is Clinch -v- Dorset Police Authority Admn (Bailii,  EWHC 161 (Admin)) where the judge reaffirmed the decision in Yates.
MR JUSTICE McCOMBE said:
In the end, on this first issue, in the light of the arguments and the decisions and dicta of persuasive authority before me, I propose to follow the dicta of Latham J in Yates’s case
…, in many cases in practice the questions that go to the doctors will be truly medical ones and the Claimant and the Authority will be able, if so advised, to make representations to the doctors on matters that are not truly medical in nature. It is, moreover, interesting to note that the true legal question arising out of the facts in Stunt’s case eventually reached the Court through the avenue of judicial review (as Latham J envisaged they would). There is no reason to think that if it had been the Authority that had been dissatisfied with the legal conclusions drawn by the medical authorities in that case , it would not have been possible for it also to seek a judicial review of those conclusions, so as to reach an appropriate forum for the resolution of questions of law.
The judge here is saying on matters of an application of an Injury Award that the decision is that of the medical authority only and if the police pension doesn’t like it then they can try to take it to judicial review.
To summarise, if the appellant considers the medical practitioner’s facts he bases his opinions upon are wrong then it can be taken to crown court; if dissatisfied with the medical practitioner’s reasoning then it can go to PMAB; matters of the medical practitioner’s error of law can be taken to Judicial review.
Note it is always the decision of the medical authority – never that of the police pension authority.
Twenty years is a long time and perhaps the Federation officers that had knowledge of the home office circular, Yates and Clinch have long since retired. The gap in the knowledge of Fed reps advising serving officer is a travesty in itself. IODPA is aware of serving officers, not happy with the poor help they receive, seeking to arm themselves with awareness of caselaw and the Regulations.
The heinous abuses performed by public servants in the administration of injury awards are unforgivable. Those that administer the delegated responsibilities of the Regulations are paid a salary to be aware of the statute that governs them. Their bien-pensant manipulation of the Regulations ignores previous home office circulars and stated cases. Deliberate ignorance means, intentionally ignoring a fact when one has every reason to believe about its existence, and this is happening now – to injured and disabled police officers. It is capricious and should be viewed as nothing less than misfeasance in a public office.
IODPA will continue to work tirelessly and fully prise the lid off all the injustice and cover-ups of what will prove to be a very large can of worms for police pension authorities.
4 thoughts on “Referral to the Medical Authority”
it make me wonder do the the Chief Constables of the forces actually now how the regs are being applied in their names,( delegation). It terms of the NAMF ( worthless organisation).
I had not seen Home Office Circular 34/1996. Thank you for unearthing it from the mounds of case law which has been necessary since HOC 46/2004 was brought into being. This should not have been the case as the Regulations are quite clear and should not be open for any other interpretation. In fact there appears to have been very little case law prior to HOC 46/2004 which is an indicator that even a blind man could see. Perhaps HOC 34/1996 is a Circular that the HR people and Chief Constables choose to ignore because it does not fit in well with their agenda. Could this Circular have been the birth of the National Attendance Management Forum?
The official side’s agenda is to misinterpret and ignore the regulations so that they don’t have to pay injury pensions to injured officers. So what will be the long term result of these unlawful acts? The result will be that nobody of any integrity will want to join the police. Or, if they do then they will not perform their duty of keeping the general public safe. Maybe then, the official side who sit behind their desks and never have to face anything angrier than a misfunctioning printer or computer will have to get out on the streets and deal with the thugs and criminals themselves!
Not much chance of that I hear you shout.
I am assured some one remembers case law unfortunately it is not the PA who always seem to have selective amnesia when it suites them. Why the PA cannot stick to case law and their failure to do so deliberately harasses the applicant and further sours any relationship one may have once had with the employer.
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