In R (Boskovic) v Chief Constable of Staffordshire  EWCA Civ 676, the Court of Appeal had to resolve apparently conflicting High Court decisions on two separate questions arising from the application of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006. This blog post considers the implications for police pension authorities who are asked to agree to re-open a final decision, thereby avoiding the need for an appeal to the Police Medical Appeal Board, or a judicial review claim.
The determinations of Selected Medical Practitioners (SMPs) made under the various Police Pensions Regulations and the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 are, in many cases, supposed to be final unless or until they are appealed. Subsequent SMPs, Police Medical Appeal Boards and, on occasion, the lawyers acting for both officers and police pension authorities, seem prone to forget this principle. When they do, the High Court always welcomes them with open arms and a consistent eagerness to remind them that careful adherence to the statutory procedures for injury on duty awards is in everyone’s long-term interest.
The case of R (Evans) v Chief Constable of Cheshire Constabulary and Police Medical Appeals Board  EWHC 952 (Admin) is the latest case to confirm this principle. While there is little in the decision that ought to come as a great surprise, the judgment does include an unambiguous critique of the decision in R (Doubtfire & Anor) v Police Medical Appeal Board  EWHC 980 (Admin), which ought no longer to be regarded as good law. It also gives clear advice to SMPs and PMABs, who may be considering the question of an injury on duty award years after the first determination under the Police Pensions Regulations 1987.
The recent decision of the High Court upon an application for judicial review of a Police Medical Appeals Board (‘PMAB’) decision in the case of R (Fisher) v (1) Chief Constable of Northumbria (2) PMAB  EWHC 455 (Admin) highlights the pitfalls in the assessment of a former officer’s uninjured earning capacity when reviewing the level of an injury pension under regulation 37 of the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006.