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Gray v Thames Trains Ltd [2009] 1 AC 1339

By Oxbridge Law TeamUpdated 07/01/2024 21:07

Judgement for the case Gray v Thames Trains Ltd

KEY POINTS

  • The principle of illegality comes in two forms:

    1. In its wider form, one is not entitled to seek compensation for any losses they have incurred as a result of their own criminal actions.

    2. In its narrow form, one cannot claim damages for harm that arises from the loss of their freedom, a legally imposed fine, or any other punishment due to their own unlawful conduct.

FACTS

  • A collision between a Turbo Train operated by Thames Trains and First Great Western High-Speed Train resulted in 31 fatalities and more than 500 injuries. Mr. Gray, a Turbo Train passenger, experienced depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident.

  • Subsequently, he was involved in a fatal altercation with a pedestrian and was charged with murder. However, his plea was reduced to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility caused by his mental health condition. He was detained in a hospital after a period in prison.

  • Mr. Gray later filed a negligence lawsuit against the responsible parties, seeking compensation for loss of earnings, damages related to his detention and conviction, and indemnity against potential claims from the deceased pedestrian's dependents.

  • The central issue was whether Mr. Gray's claims for loss of earnings and damages were recoverable, considering a possible rule of law based on public policy that restricts compensation for the consequences of one's own criminal actions.

JUDGEMENT

  • Mr. Gray’s claim was invalid.

COMMENTARY

  • This case is notable for its nuanced application of the rule preventing compensation for one's own criminal actions.

  • It underscores the importance of considering the underlying causes of criminal behavior, especially when mental health issues are involved, and distinguishes cases where third-party negligence plays a substantial role.

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