Knauer (Widower and Administrator of the Estate of Sally Ann Knauer) (Appellant) v Ministry of Justice (Respondent)

25 January 2016

Tom Poole is representing the Ministry of Justice in the Supreme Court, being led by Gerard McDermott QC, in an appeal challenging the traditional method of assessing the multiplier in fatal accident claims. As the appeal seeks to reverse long-standing House of Lords authority, it is being heard by an enlarged panel of seven Supreme Court Justices (Lord Neuberger, Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Reed, Lord Toulson and Lord Hodge).

It has long been the case in fatal accident claims that the multiplier for dependency is assessed at the date of death rather than the date of trial. If the Supreme Court allows the appeal this will all change, with wide implications for claimants and defendants alike.

Tom appeared for the Ministry of Justice in the Queen’s Bench Division before Mr Justice Bean (as he then was) and at an earlier hearing in 2013 before Master Eastman. The court was required to assess damages in a claim brought by Mr Knauer following the death of his wife as a result of exposure to asbestos. Mr Knauer had claimed that during the course of the marriage, his wife had managed the household and had been responsible for cleaning, cooking, laundry, ironing, shopping, walking the dogs, gardening and decorating. The Ministry Of Justice admitted liability and damages were assessed at £642,972.51 excluding interest.

You can watch live from the Court here on Thursday 28th January.

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