Our congratulations to David Lock QC and Ron Thompson of Haven Solicitors who have won another very important Judicial Review against Cheshire Constabulary in the Manchester Administrative Court on the 14th March 2018. It centres around whether an SMP who is considering an injury award can revisit the same questions already answered during the ill-health retirement process. IODPA receives a lot of correspondence over this issue, and the judgement reinforces the rights of injured officers and should provide some certainty to those who have been ill-health retired and are seeking an injury award.
The case involved Mark Evans an officer from Cheshire Constabulary, who in 2007 following a number of on duty incidents was deemed to be disabled by reason of (i) mechanical back pain, and (ii) post-traumatic stress disorder, and that that disablement was likely to be permanent. Evans was not ill-health retired, but retained on non-operational clerical roles.
In 2015, the force reconsidered whether that state of affairs should continue and an assessment by Dr Pilkington, a new SMP concluded that he was permanently disabled on the basis of “significant degenerative changes in his right shoulder“, but that his PTSD “would not be expected to constitute a permanent incapacity“. He was required to retire on the grounds of permanent disablement.
Evans then applied for an injury on duty award, and his case was referred to a third SMP, Dr Walsh. Dr Walsh concluded the claimant had a permanent disability as a result of “significant degenerative changes in his right shoulder joint“, but again rejected the claim of PTSD. Evans was awarded band 1.
Evans appealed the decision to the PMAB, who disagreed that he had any permanent disablement at all, and therefore he did not qualify for an injury award.
The case hinged on whether following the initial determination of Dr Hutton, the PMAB were entitled to reconsider under the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006, the following questions that had already been decided under the Police Pension Regulations 1987,
(a) whether the person concerned is disabled
(b) whether the disablement is likely to be permanent
Mr Justice LANE quashed the decision of the PMAB stating “police officers who are required to retire on the grounds of permanent disablement are entitled to a degree of finality in respect of their entitlement to pensions. A police officer who has to retire as a result of what is then considered to be permanent disablement caused in the line of duty should not be at the mercy of a subsequent medical assessment, that he or she was not, in fact, permanently disabled“.
You can read the full judgement here – http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2018/952.html
Ron Thompson from Haven Solicitors has provided the following press release.