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Hicks v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire [1992] All ER 65 House of Lords

Sarah and Victoria Hicks were sisters aged 19 and 15 when they were crushed to death in the Hillsborough football stadium disaster. Their parents brought a claim against the defendants seeking damages in respect of the fear and terror that the sisters would have suffered prior to death. The trial judge held that the claimants had failed to prove that either girl suffered before death any injury for which damages fell to be awarded. This decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeal. The parents appealed to the House of Lords.

Held:

The appeal was dismissed

Lord Bridge:

“It is perfectly clear law that fear by itself, of whatever degree, is a normal human emotion for which no damages can be awarded. Those trapped in the crush at Hillsborough who were fortunate enough to escape without injury have no claim in respect of the distress they suffered in what must have been a truly terrifying experience. It follows that fear of impending death felt by the victim of a fatal injury before that injury is inflicted cannot by itself give rise to a cause of action which survives for the benefit of the victim's estate.”

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