The Court of Appeal of St Helena gave a judgment on 5, October 2017 in a medical negligence case in which it decided that the Chief Justice had been wrong to find that damages paid to people who have been injured on St Helena should be the same as in England and Wales. However, whilst the Court of Appeal held that the Chief Justice’s reasons were wrong, the Court of Appeal awarded the same amount of damages to these plaintiffs on the grounds that wages on St Helena would very soon be the same as in England. However, there was no evidence before the court that could support that conclusion. SHG is the defendant in this case and has decided to make a further appeal to the Privy Council (the highest court of appeal for St Helena).
If this ground is not appealed there will be implications for anyone who happens to cause injury to another person on St Helena. It is important to note that, if this judgment stands, the ordinary man or woman will also have to pay the full English rate for damages even though his or her earnings are only a third. Whilst popular opinion may be in favour of people who have been injured getting big pay-outs, local businesses and householders could be driven to bankruptcy by this level of compensation as it takes no account of the economic circumstances on St Helena.
10 November 2017