Don’t double dip

Often, when drafting a schedule of loss, you will need to include more than one claim. For example, if your case is for unfair dismissal and unlawful deduction of wages, your schedule should set how how much compensation you want for both claims.

But you must avoid seeking double recovery. This is when you try to claim the same compensation twice under two claims.

The most common cause of this is unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims. Under the unfair dismissal, you will claim compensation for your lost salary from the dismissal. Under the wrongful dismissal claim, you will claim the notice pay you didn’t get.

Say you were dismissed on 1st February, were unemployed for two months before finding a new job earning the same money and were entitled to four week’s notice. Your compensatory award will be the salary you would have got in February and March. Your wrongful dismissal claim is for four weeks salary from the 1st February.

You will see that the notice pay is for the same period as part of the compensatory award. So there is double recovery. If the tribunal were to award both amounts, you would actually be better off, financially, than if you hadn’t been dismissed. Instead of just having your February and March salaries, you’d have those plus four weeks pay.

How do you deal with this in your schedule? Don’t just take the notice pay claim out. It is still part of your claim, and the tribunal will want to know what you’re claiming under it. But you should indicate that you are aware of the double recovery rule and not trying to claim the amount twice. Simply writing something like ‘Claimed in the alternative, since this sum also forms part of the compensatory award’ is normally the best route.

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