Updated Vento Guidelines

Compensation for discrimination claims can include an award for injury to feelings. The Vento Guidelines were set by the Court of Appeal in Vento v The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2002] EWCA Civ 1871, and provide guidance for the correct amount of compensation. Daniel Barnett reports that HHJ McMullen, in the recent (and as yet unreported) case of Da’Bell v NSPCC that the bands are to be increased in line with inflation, as follows:

  • Upper band: Was £15,000 – £25,000, now increased to £18,000 – £30,000. The most serious cases, such as where there has been a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment. Only in the most exceptional case should an award of compensation for injury to feelings exceed £30,000.
  • Middle band: Was £5,000 – £15,000, now increased to £6,000 – £18,000. The middle band should be used for serious cases, which do not merit an award in the highest band.
  • Lower band: Was £500* – £5,000, now increased to £? – £6,000. Less serious cases, such as where the act of discrimination is an isolated or one off occurrence. In general, awards of less than £500 are to be avoided altogether, as they risk being regarded as so low as not to be a proper recognition or injury to feelings.

The ranges are still large, of course, and tribunals have a wide range of discretion in determining the seriousness of any discrimination and the appropriate compensation payable.

A full report of Da’Bell will be posted as soon as it is available – we don’t know if the EAT specified a change to the minimum award in the lower bracket.

*a number of other decisions of the EAT have resulted in many lawyers regarding £750 as the actual minimum. Certainly any award falling below £500 is likely to be appealable.

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