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R (Stunt) v. Mallett



Police commissioner's appeal from a decision of Grigson J that the duties of the respondent police officer ('S') had included the duty to submit to the complaint procedure. S sought to qualify for a gratuity and an injury pension under reg.B4 Police Pensions Regulations 1987 SI 1987/257 after retiring as a result of a permanently disabling psychiatric injury suffered in reaction to an internal police investigation. The broad issue on appeal was whether S was "permanently disabled as a result of an injury received without his own default in the execution of his duty". The narrow issue on appeal was whether S's injury was "an injury received in the execution of that person's duty as a constable" within reg.A11(1) and/or an injury received "while on duty" within reg.A11(2)(a) of the Regulations. The appellant submitted the following: (i) the Regulations should be interpreted strictly according to their language; (ii) there was no factual foundation to impugn the judgment of the independent medical referee who had concluded that S's stress was not caused by his work as a police officer but by his concern and resentment at allegations made against him; (iii) since reg.A11(2)(a) Regulations was time specific it excluded developing illnesses whether mental or physical; and (iv) reg.A11(1) required the injury to be caused by the execution of the officer's duty. S submitted in reply that the appellant's interpretation of "execution" in reg.A11(1) of the 1987 Regulations was too restrictive.
HELD: (1) R v Kellam, ex parte South Wales Police Authority (2000) ICR 632 analysed a number of unreported first instance decisions on the pension entitlement of police officers retired on grounds of stress-related depressive illness. Police officers whose depressive illness developed from the accumulated stresses of work qualified for an award. Kellam (supra) was correctly decided provided that the officer's ultimately disabling mental state had been materially brought about by stresses suffered through actually being at work. (2) The various stresses on the officer in Kellam bore more heavily upon him because he was at work and mixing with other police officers. That was not the position in this case which therefore raised novel considerations. (3) S's psychiatric injury resulted from his status as a police constable, rather than from the execution of his duty. The distinction, mentioned in Kellam, needed little elaboration. However elastic the notion of "execution of duty" could be, it did not encompass stress-related illness through exposure to disciplinary proceedings. Accordingly, an award was not payable to an officer disabled through his reaction to disciplinary proceedings.
Appeal allowed.

[2001] EWCA Civ 265; [2001] 1 ICR 989

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