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

Fear is not a medically recognised condition and does not qualify for compensation for psychiatric harm.

19 years old Sarah and 15 years old Victoria Hicks were sisters who were crushed to death in the Hillsborough football stadium disaster of 1989. The girls’ parents brought a claim seeking damages for the fear and terror that the sisters would have suffered before death.

The appeal was unsuccessful:

To award damages or to be eligible for damages the claim of negligence in psychiatric harm has to be based on a condition which is medically recognised (such as personality disorder or Post-traumatic stress disorder). Fear is not a medically recognised condition but is a normal human emotion for which there cannot be any damages.

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