BREAKING: Northumbria and PMAB’s Regulation 37 methodology DEFEATED in a judicial review.
Fisher, R (on the application of) v The Chief Constable of Northumbria & Anor  EWHC 455 (Admin) (08 March 2017)
Nicholas Wirz, Northumbria Police’s principal solicitor as well as the National Wellbeing & Engagement Forum’s (NWEF/NAMF) self-declared legal advisor, has suffered a humiliating legal defeat over his unlawful interpretation of comparators used by many SMPs and PMABs to calculate earning capacity.
A feature length blog on the implications of the Fisher v Northumbria judgement will follow soon. This judicial review quashes the decision of a PMAB panel that, in 2016, reduced him from a band 3 to a band 1. It is the culmination of a 11 year battle fought against Wirz and Northumbria police.
Shockingly this isn’t the first time Mr Fisher has had his injury pension unlawfully reduced. The Journal (along with The Chronicle, it is part of the North East’s most popular newspaper group) printed in 2008 a feature concerning the odious vendetta of Wirz against this former officer.
In March 1998 The Journal reported that his injury pension had been reduced before, by £1200, only to be restored on appeal. The article described how Mr Fisher was medically retired from Northumbria police after being called to the Kirkley Hall mink farm on the outskirts of Ponteland, Northumberland, to police an animal rights demonstration, when a cross-breed Rottweiler sank his teeth into his lower right arm. The animal had been fed on the remains of dead minks and Mr Fisher spent five days in hospital undergoing numerous emergency surgeries when the wound became infected.
He needed almost 40 stitches to the gash and his injuries were so severe he lost full control of the fingers in his hand. This incident was the culmination of fighting the symptoms of PTSD after being injured in an on-duty knife attack in 1992.
The Chronicle recently published that on Wednesday 8th March, Mr Justice Garnham allowed Mr Fisher’s challenge against the Chief Constable of Northumbria and the PMAB:
Bitten policeman battles off bid to slash his pension
The grounds lost by Northumbria have implications on any SMP or PMAB decision where the earning capacity was based on comparative earnings as well as where the decision made fails to give sufficient reasoning to identify, at least, the basis for the medical authority’s conclusion on uninjured comparators.
We will keep our readers up to date on the ramifications and discuss how a reconsideration, or the Pension Ombudsman, can be used to relook at unsafe historical revisions to injury awards.
The decision of the PMAB has been quashed by Justice Garnham. Points 1 & 4 (below) were won in favour of Mr Fisher and the PMAB decision has been overturned. Points 2 & 3 failed but the judge made it clear in his judgment that a reasoned decision of uninjured earning capacity has to be made by the decision maker. The corollary is that picking random jobs has to be justified and reasoned.
The PMAB, as a delegated decision maker on behalf Of the Chief Constable, made the following errors in reaching this decision:
- The PMAB erred because it failed to use the Claimant’s potential police earnings as the uninjured earnings comparator;
- Further the Chief Constable erred in back-dating the effect of the decision to 27 February 2015 and thus claiming that the Chief Constable had overpaid the Claimant when, in law, the decision only took effect at the date that it was made by the PMAB and so there no back-dating.