George v. Eagle Air Services Ltd, Court of Appeal - Privy Council, July 15, 2009, [2009] UKPC 35

Resolution Date:July 15, 2009
Issuing Organization:Privy Council
Actores:George v. Eagle Air Services Ltd

Privy Council Appeal No 1 of 2007 George v. Eagle Air Services Ltd (Saint Lucia) [2009] UKPC 34 (15 July 2009)Felicia Andrina GeorgeAdministratrix of the Estate ofHughes Williams (Deceased) Appellantv.Eagle Air Services Limited RespondentFROMTHE COURT OF APPEAL OFTHE EASTERN CARIBBEAN (ST LUCIA)- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -JUDGMENT OF THE LORDS OF THE JUDICIALCOMMITTEE OF THE PRIVY COUNCILON THE ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGESDelivered the 15th July 2009- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Lord Mance Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury Sir Jonathan Parker - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -[Delivered by Lord Mance]In its opinion delivered 12th May 2009 the Board advised Her Majesty that Mrs George's appeal should be allowed, and that judgment should be entered in her favour against the respondent for damages to be assessed. The Board, having invited and had the assistance as amici curiae of Mr Guthrie QC and Mr Daniel Lewis instructed by Messrs. Charles Russell, concludes that it can and should undertake the assessment of damages itself, rather than remit this to the High Court in St. Lucia.The Board starts from the evidence, substantially unchallenged, given by Mrs George at trial. On behalf of the estate of Mr Williams, three heads of claim were advanced: (i) loss of expectation of life, (ii) funeral expenses and (iii) lost years. On behalf of Mrs George and her five children by Mr Williams, there was also advanced (iv) a claim for loss of dependency. The Board takes these heads of claim in turn. Loss of expectation of lifeArticle 609 of the Civil Code permits the making of a conventional award for loss of expectation of life. The abolition in England of such awards by the Administration of Justice Act 1982 s.1(20(A) has been held by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal to have no effect in St Lucia: Masthurin v Augustin (HCVAP 2007/041, 2 June 2008). In submissions dated 3rd October 2000, Mr Montplaisir appearing for Mrs George argued for an increase in the sum then standard under this head of $1,500 to $2,500 in order to accommodate inflation. In Jallim v Ghirawoo (2003/0483, 17 February 2005), the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal indicated obiter, in relation to an accident occurring in October 2002, that in its view ``in 2005 the time had come to uprate the conventional award to $3,500''. Bearing in mind that the present case relates to an accident in 1990, the Board considers that it should take the amount of $2,500 for which Mr Montplaisir contended...

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