RSI Compensation

Five former Midland Bank workers who suffered “considerable pain” in their arms, necks and shoulders after their work rate was increased have been awarded over £50,000 in compensation after winning a test case.

Comment 1: What really gets me is that the costs for this case are 500,000 ukp, so far. This for an award of 50,000 ukp. It would have been a lot cheaper if the union and the bank’s insurer had just given the five employees 50,000 ukp. Although this is the first win for ‘diffuse’ RSI, I believe this case does not set a precedent, as it was in the county court, not a high court. Any comments?

Comment 2: Correct. In fact, even if in the High Court, it would not be a precedent. They only come about at Appeal Court level. The point is that it is only at appeal court level that the law is fully considered and interpreted in an authoritative way that can be quoted in future cases. At trial court level the law is argued by both sides and a judgment made by one judge, but it is largely as to the facts and evidence that the judgment relates. At Appeal, the court is not really concerned with the facts, it will usually accept without challenge the lower courts view on the truth or otherwise of the evidence, but with interpreting the law.

However, that is not to say that the way in which a High Court, or indeed County Court, judge dealt with a significant case may not be persuasive on other judges subsequently. I certainly would want to direct a judge in any relevant case I am running to the Midland decision. It is just that we could not argue that the High Court decision has “made” law. I would, however, suspect that the Midland case is novel simply because it is a rarely supportive interpretation of the medical evidence rather than a new interpretation of the law. I will try and get more info on this point.

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