Compensation culture inthe United Kingdom:There is an assumptionthat ‘compensation culture’ is circulating in the veins of the United Kingdom this assumption is merely basedon media reports and academic discussions. But there are critiques to thisassumption as well and their argument is rational. The ones who claim thatCulture exists their argument is based on judgments in cases like “Smith othersvs.
Ministry of Defense”1(MoD), where the MoD has been held liable for breach of duty of care, furtherto it in case of “Chester vs. Afshar”2 where the doctor was held liable for postprocedure injuries. Even in case of “Woodland vs. Swimming Teachers Association”3where it was held that duty of care is non-delegable, even if it is out sourcedto technically competent third party. The critiques to theassumption, states that the reality is different from perception, all claimsare not successful, only the ones which have large social implications are allowed.As per K. Williams “It may be that too many wrongful harms in some areas gouncompensated or that compensation levels are low, comparatively speaking”4.Thegovernment of United kingdom has conducted a study ‘Better Regulation Task Force'(BRTF) where it was found that compared to other nations of the developed worldUnited Kingdom has the lowest compensation paid compared to GDP5.
Therewas also a working committee chaired by Julian Lowe to compute ‘The cost ofCompensation culture”, the there studywas based to types of claims and the cost incurred and the following are thetypes of claims which are common in the UK:”A. Insuranceclaims on Motor and (Employers’ / Public) Liability policiesB. NHS claims(negligence / medical malpractice)C. Local /Education Authorities (accidents in the street, inappropriate childcare or poorquality teaching, for example)D.
Police /Ministry of Defense / Other Public Services (from policemen, soldiers and soon, either directly for trauma at work, or from members of the public)E. CriminalCompensation (from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority)F. Ministry ofAgriculture (in respect of Foot and Mouth, or BSE, for example)G. Department ofTrade and Industry (for industrial injuries, such as compensation to formerBritish Coal miners for lung disease)”6Being a common lawcountry where the courts have the power to make the law through precedents, thecourts have to play a role of watch dog to keep an eye on the development of ‘compensationculture’7. Eventhough the government is striving hard to control the culture by introducingcompensation bill, access to justice act, but it’s the court which is the lastresort has to take measures to check and control the development of ‘compensationculture’.The role of the courtsin checking the compensation culture;The courts play a veryvital role in checking the development of compensation culture through the passing of judgments, as most of the academician’sstate that law of Tort is mostly judge made law rather than a statue, as mostof the core principles are found in judgments E.g.
CAPRO, Farichild andwoodland etc.8 1Smith & others vs. Ministry of Defense 2013 UKSC 412Chester vs. Afshar 2005 1 Ac 133 Woodland vs. Swimming teachers Association 20134 Ibid 2 5Better Regulation Task Force, Better Routes to Redress (2004)6 TheInstitute of Actuaries WorkingParty The cost of Compensation Culture (December2002)7Ibid 168Ibid 7