Harassment Damages Update

Picture of Money

What’s the claim worth?

There have been some recent awards of damages under the PHA which will shortly be added to the list on the Harassment Damages page along with some older cases which I have unearthed. Owing to the volume of cases, the display needs some reworking but that will be a job for another day …

The most recent case is an unreported decision in the Middlesbrough County Court in December 2012 where an employee was awarded a total of £13,565 for harassment by her manager. I don’t have a copy of the judgment yet so can’t identify the period involved nor indeed how the award is made up.

A report on the Cloisters site (the very excellent Andrew Buchan represented the Claimant) says she was awarded £10,000 and £3,000 for ‘injury to feelings’ which suggests there was actual psychiatric injury as well.

Other awards which slipped under my radar earlier include the (in)famous Ken Bates case in April 2012 where he was ordered to pay £10,000 compensation to Melvyn Levi. That award reflected some psychiatric injury and was in relation to what came down to 6 incidents of broadcasting a radio message (in which listeners were asked to ring in with news of the whereabouts of Mr Levi) and an offensive article in a match program. The context was important so the full judgment should be read if there is any intention to rely on it.

In July 2011, in Mitton v Benefield, a couple were awarded £7,000 for the result of an increasingly nasty neighbour dispute. They had endured nearly 4 years of excessive scrutiny and intermittent abuse and false allegations.

In November 2004, in Wynn-Jones v Bickley (not on BAIILI) again in the context of a property dispute – this time in relation to alleged encroachment – a couple was awarded £3,000 damages for harassment over a period of about 3 months involving dumping of debris on land and use of abusive language.

Separately, there have been 2 recent judgments for damages for harassment which have overlapped with related claims.

In WXY v Gewanter & Others, highly personal information was published on the internet and threats were made to publish more. This was found to be both harassment and misuse of private information. Although the Claimant asked for separate awards, on 14 March 2013, a combined award of £24,950 was made which included £5,000 aggravated damages.

That award was practically identical to the award of £25,000 made the very next day by the same Judge, Tugendhat J, which again included £5,000 aggravated damages. In Thompson v James & Others the Claimant was found to have published 5 defamatory blog posts about the Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire council. They were found to have been harassment and the award was again combined.

 

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