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Judicial review of a decision not to grant enhanced benefits concludes that medical evidence should have been taken into account

03 May 2010

In Doubtfire v West Mercia Police Authority we applied to the high court for a judicial review of a decision not to grant enhanced benefits to our client after she had sustained lasting psychiatric injury due to workplace bullying. The case has implications for any organisation that runs a defined benefit final salary scheme that offers enhanced payments for those retired due to workplace injury, particularly in dangerous professions such as the police, fire service or prison service, where traditionally enhanced pensions would only be granted if an employee had sustained a psychological injury “in action” (for example post traumatic stress disorder) and not for psychological injuries sustained through internal bullying. In this case the judicial review concluded that the medical evidence should have been taken into account, showing that an appeal board of three doctors can use their own diagnosis of a psychiatric injury to overturn a refusal to provide enhanced ill health pension benefits.