The heirs of a man who died in a workplace accident a year ago have filed a constitutional case claiming that a mathematical formula being used by the courts to work out compensation, first established in 1967, was in breach of their rights.
They argue that the formula adopted by the court to calculate compensation due to victims is discriminatory as it bases the calculation, among other things, on the victim’s age.
Martin, Gordon and Christian Paul Micallef filed their suit against the state advocate in the First Hall of the Civil Court in its constitutional jurisdiction, calling on the court to declare that the formula is discriminatory and unfair.
They said that their father, Karmnu Micallef, was killed by a truck manoeuvring on a narrow road on February 3 last year. The Mġarr resident was 71 years old when the accident took place in Triq Wied il-Qoton, Birżebbuġa.
The truck driver, Davide Manunta, 35, last week pleaded not guilty to the involuntary homicide of his workmate.
The police told the court the two workers had been transporting rebars to a construction site in the area but the truck was too big for the narrow road and the driver tried to manoeuvre it around.
Micallef stepped out to give him directions but, as he stood in front of the truck, he was hit by the large Leyland DAF vehicle and dragged along.
The victim suffered extensive head injuries.
Through their lawyers, Franco Galea and Roberto Spiteri, Karmnu Micallef’s sons told the constitutional court that before they proceed to file a claim for compensation before the civil courts, they were first attacking the compensation formula used by the court over the years since they believed that this was discriminatory.
The formula is not entrenched in law but based on 1967 judgment
They explained that the formula is not entrenched in law but emanates from an appeal judgment handed down on December 22, 1967, where the court came up with a formula that calculated the percentage of disability suffered by the victim, the salary and the remaining working life of the victim.
This methodology was adopted by the court and has been used ever since but is discriminatory because it discriminates on the basis of the victim’s age.
They argued that such discrimination was in violation of their rights, as protected by the country’s constitution as well as the European Convention of Human Rights.
They called on the court to rule on their claim that the formula the court has been using for almost six decades was discriminatory and that they were to suffer prejudice when they file their claim for compensation that they were planning.