Ng Chai Man And Another v Leung Ngan

CourtCourt of Appeal (Hong Kong)
Judgment Date19 Jul 1983
Judgement NumberCACV55/1983
SubjectCivil Appeal
CACV000055/1983 NG CHAI MAN AND ANOTHER v. LEUNG NGAN

CACV000055/1983

Civil Appeal
No. 55 of 1983

Headnote

Interest - Damages - Personal Injuries - new guideline on rate of interest to be awarded for non-economic loss.

Held: (dismissing the appeal against the assessment of damages): The decision of the House of Lords in Wright v. British Railways Board [1983] 3 W.L.R. 211 showed that the guideline laid down by the Hong Kong Court of Appeal in Wong Yuk Chau and Another v. Tang Suk Yee - Civil Appeal No. 13 of 1983: 24th March 1983 - [that interest on general damages for pain, suffering, loss of amenities and loss of expectation of life should continue to be at the full economic rate] was wrong and, in the light of de Lasala v. de Lasala [1980] A.C. 456, must be corrected since the legislative provisions which require interest to be awarded and the principles upon which the rate of interest is assessed are the same in Britain and Hong Kong. The new guideline would therefore be that the rate of interest to be awarded in personal injury action on damages for non-economic loss should be 2%.

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL 1983, No. 55
(Civil)

BETWEEN

NG CHAI MAN

1st Appellant

THE KOWLOON MOTOR BUS CO (1933) LTD.

2nd Appellant

AND

LEUNG NGAN

Respondent

Coram: Hon. Leonard, V.-P., Cons & Fuad, JJ.A.

Date of hearing: 19 July 1983

Date of Judgment: 19 July 1983

_______________

J U D G M E N T

_______________

Fuad, J.A. :

1. This is an appeal against an assessment of damages for personal injuries made by a Commissioner of the High Court in a decision given on the 26th February 1983. At the trial the Appellants, the Kowloon Motor Bus Co. and one of their drivers, denied liability but there is no challenge before us regarding the Commissioner's finding of negligence, and so the manner in which the Respondent, Madam Leung Ngan, sustained her injuries, does not call for examination. The Commissioner found the following: that as a result of the accident which occurred on the 16th August 1981 Madam Leung, then aged about 61, and a widow for many years, sustained a fracture of the medial side of the upper end of the left tibia. She stayed in hospital for 19 days while the fracture was treated, and she had to wear a plaster cast on her leg for six weeks in all. After the cast was removed she used crutches for three months and then a walking stick for a further two weeks. There was permanent damage to the condyle of the tibia, in that the front part of the lateral condyle is slightly depressed downwards by one or two millimeters and a bony projection protrudes at the front of the tibia. Since the fracture involves the condyle, which is partially displaced and is a weight-bearing section of the surface of the knee joint, osteoarthritis would inevitably develop. The impairment was assessed at 1% but would increase to 3-4% impairment by the age of 70.

2. Madam Leung, the Commissioner found, was unable to walk as far as she could do before the accident or to stand for more than one or two hours at a time without pain and discomfort. While she was not crippled, she had a stiff knee and could no longer squat - her disabilities were permanent and would gradually worsen as osteoarthritis developed.

3. The Commissioner awarded Madam Leung $18,000 damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenities. This part of the award is not attacked.

4. Madam Leung had been employed as an amah, and in reaching a figure upon which to base an award in respect of her loss of earnings, the Commissioner decided that he should set $500 per month as the value of the food and accommodation she was getting from her previous employment. The Appellants say that this assessment is wrong. The Commissioner recognised that this item was not easy to assess but having accepted that Madam Leung had been contributing $500 a month to the household expenses of her son's home where she had been living since her discharge from hospital, he said "I do not consider that sum to be unreasonable, and I am prepared by analogy to use that figure as a fair estimate of the value of the food and accommodation she was...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT