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Work out how much compensation you could get for discrimination

This advice applies to England

To work out how much you can ask for, you need to consider what a court can order if you win your discrimination claim. The amount you’re claiming might also affect how the case is dealt with.

The court can order the other side to pay you compensation for:

  • any money you've lost because of the discrimination - this is called financial loss
  • hurt or distress you've suffered because of the discrimination - this is called injury to feelings
  • a personal injury, such as depression or a physical injury, caused by the discrimination
  • particularly bad behaviour by the other side - this is called ‘aggravated damages’

You might have other claims as well as discrimination. Those claims have different rules about compensation. The most common claims that people have with discrimination claims are for:

Add these sums to your claim or make sure they’re included in an agreement to settle your claim. You might find it useful to draw up a list of the amounts you’re claiming. This list is called a ‘schedule of loss’.

If you need help working out what you can claim, get help from an adviser.

Working out how much compensation you could get will help you decide what to do if the other side offers you money to stop the case from going to court. It will also affect which court procedure you need to follow.

Work out what money you’ve lost

You might have lost money for a number of reasons - like because you’ve had to pay extra for accommodation or if you had to take time off work because of the discrimination. 

The money you’ve lost could include:

  • the cost of temporary accommodation
  • storage costs
  • removal costs
  • lost wages if you had to take time off work - like to find somewhere else to live
  • the cost of replacing any damaged items

You might also have the cost of getting medical help with an illness caused by the discrimination - like prescription charges for antidepressants or counselling you couldn’t get on the NHS.

Keep receipts or invoices for any extra expenses as you’ll need these as evidence.

Compensation for future loss

You can claim for future losses but will need to be able to show there’s a link between the loss and the discrimination. For example, if your eviction was discriminatory and you had to rent somewhere else at a higher cost, you could claim those costs.

Minimise your losses

You’ll need to show you’ve tried to minimise your financial losses - this is called ‘mitigating your loss’. You could do this by showing, for example, that you found reasonable alternative accommodation or went to stay with friends or family.

Check how much you can claim for hurt or distress - injury to feelings awards

You can claim for the emotional distress the discrimination has caused you - this is called ‘injury to feelings’. You’ll need to say how the discrimination made you feel. Ask your family, friends, colleagues, medical professionals or support workers if they’ll be witnesses to how the discrimination affected you.

If you saw your GP about the impact of the discrimination on you, you could ask your GP for a report - check if they’ll charge you a fee for this.

You can claim compensation for injury to feelings for almost any discrimination claim.

The minimum award for injury to feelings should be around £1,000.

Compensation for injury to feelings is split into three bands called ‘Vento bands’. You can ask for a higher amount for injury to feelings if your situation means you’re badly affected - like if you already had a stress-related illness when you were discriminated against. The bands are as follows:

BandAmountDescription
Lower £900-£8,800 For less serious cases such as a one-off act
Middle £8,800-£26,300 For cases which are serious but don't fall into the top band
Top £26,300-£44,000 For the most serious cases of discrimination. For example, where there's been a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment

Check how much you can claim if you suffered an injury - personal injury awards

You might have suffered a physical injury or a mental health problem because of the discrimination. If so, you can claim for that too. This is called a personal injury.

In most discrimination cases, the injury to feelings compensation covers impact on your health. In some rare cases, you might have had a physical injury or a more serious mental health problem. If so, you can make an additional claim for personal injury.

You’ll need a medical report or other evidence to prove the discrimination caused the health problem.

How much you could get depends on the injury. You should get specialist advice.

Read our advice about personal injury claims.

Check if you can claim aggravated damages 

A court can award you aggravated damages if the other side:

  • has deliberately discriminated against you when they knew what they were doing was against the law, or
  • acted in a particularly unpleasant manner when they defended your claim 

It's unusual to get an award for aggravated damages. You might get one if the other side meant to hurt you or if they were rude or dismissive at the hearing. 

How much is the interest on your award

You should ask for interest to be added to your claim.

Interest before judgment

A court can award you interest on the injury to feelings and financial loss parts of your compensation. The rate of interest is currently 8% a year. To get a daily rate, divide the amount of your award by 365 and then multiply it by 8%.

The rules on interest are in section 69 of the County Courts Act 1984.

Example

Greg successfully brings a claim for direct discrimination and is awarded £1,000 for injury to feelings. The act of discrimination happened on 1 January and the court hearing takes place on 28 April.

Date of discrimination is: 1 January

Date of hearing and award is: 28 April


Amount of award is: £1,000

  1. Daily rate of interest is:

  2. £1,000 ÷ 365 = £2.74

  3. £2.74 x 8% = £0.219

  4. There are 118 days between the act of discrimination and the hearing (31 days in January, 28 days in February, 31 days in March and 28 days in April)

  5. £0.219 x 118 = £25.84 interest

Therefore an extra £25.84 would be added to Greg’s compensation award for injury to feelings.

Interest after judgment

If the other side doesn’t pay you compensation by the time the court says they have to pay, you can also get interest at 8% from the date after it should have been paid.

When the amount you get can be reduced

The amount that you get might be reduced if you owe the other side any money and the court says that it can be taken off the amount of compensation - like if you’re behind with your rent. The legal term of this is being ‘offset’.

Even if you’re awarded compensation, the court could still order that you have to pay some or all of the other side’s legal costs - for example if you’ve acted unreasonably. The legal costs won’t be taken off your compensation but you might still be ordered to pay them after the legal action has finished. 

Next steps

Working out how much your claim is worth will help you identify which ‘track’ your claim belongs in if you make a claim to a court.

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