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Injury to Feelings Awards in Discrimination Claims

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Does a Simmons v Castle uplift apply to injury to feelings awards in discrimination cases?

Yes, held the Court of Appeal in De Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Ltd, concluding the debate in a run of competing authorities on the point.

In July 2012, the Court of Appeal ruled in Simmons v Castle that a 10% increase in non-pecuniary damages should apply to personal injury and similar cases in the civil courts.

In De Souza, the claimant, a cleaner, succeeded in a claim of disability discrimination against her employer. The employment tribunal awarded her £9,000 for injury to feelings and £3,000 for psychiatric injury. The tribunal was asked to consider whether a Simmons v Castle uplift applied to both awards and decided it only applied it to the psychiatric injury award, increasing it to £3,300.

On appeal by both parties, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found Simmons applied to neither the personal injury nor the injury to feelings award. The Claimant appealed to the Court of Appeal which found, overturning the EAT, that as s124(6) Equality Act 2010 required discrimination awards correspond with that which could be awarded by the county court, Simmons v Castle uplifts should be applied to both injury to feelings and psychiatric injury.

Thanks to Barnaby Large of No.18 Barristers Chambers for preparing this case summary.