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8.8.5 Assessing the amount of compensation


Compensation for facial disfigurement is awarded in an amount recommended by the medical referee, but not exceeding 50% of the maximum amount paid for a loss under the 1971 Act. Clearly this gives the medical referee a very flexible capacity to award compensation according to degree of severity, ranging from horrendous disfigurement (which would equate, at least, to loss of an eye (40%) or loss of a foot (60%)) to visible scarring or pigmentation (which must be considered a 'severe' disfigurement to attract compensation).

While ultimately the medical referee must exercise their own judgment whether facial disfigurement is 'severe' and what amount of compensation should be awarded, it should be noted that facial appearance and visible facial blemishes are a matter of considerable sensitivity to many people and this consideration suggests that 'severe facial disfigurement' should have a relatively low threshold. Where 'severity' is given a relatively low threshold, this can be balanced by the award of compensation at a modest proportion of the statutory maximum amount.

Some reference to Table 4.2 (Facial Disfigurement) of the Approved Guide may also be helpful to the medical referee to assist in establishing an appropriation appropriate graduation in the type and severity of disfigurements, however the Approved Guide must NOT be directly used to make the necessary judgments under S41(6) of the 1971 Act.