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Earnings made easy

When calculating quantum, future earning capacity is frequently an issue, as Tim Vogel explains

20 September 2002

When doing some background research the other day, I came across a series of judgments that raised a seemingly minor point. They were looking at a point of quantum and in each case the judge had been left in the position of doing the calculation himself. I am not specifically criticising the cases, as each time the judge seemed happy enough to do the calculation, and came up with an answer arithmetically. What struck me was, despite its being accepted by both sides and the court, that did not make the answer right. In fact, in two of the three cases I looked at it could be said to be wrong. The cases concerned the New Earnings Survey (NES). In each case there was a loss of future earning capacity, which was not in great dispute, nor was the type of work the individual would undertake. The claimants had put forward estimates based on what the family had earned, and the defendants had suggested average figures, and then the two sides had left it to the judge to come up with a figure. Bo...

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