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Howard Dean


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Fourteenth Edition of the Judicial College’s Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases

Client Alerts15/09/2017

The 14th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines have now been released online and are expected to be published in paperback later this month.

This new edition has been fully updated to take into account inflation since the last edition as well as reflect decisions of the higher courts on quantum. The figures recognise that to the end of May 2017 the general increase in RPI over the time since June 2015 has been 4.8%.

Some examples of the new guideline are set out in the table below:

The example table above does not include the 10% Simmons v Castle [2012] EWCA Civ 1288 uplift in general damages recommended by Sir Rupert Jackson.

Keoghs Comment

Following previous adherence to the RPI, the Judicial College Board (JCB) floated the idea that some index might be appropriate but decided it was not the time for change. Perhaps the catalyst for change may be when tariff damages for whiplash are implemented by the present Government.

There are a number of points to note which are recognised by the JCB as follows:

  • Awards for scarring – there is no longer any differentiation between awards for scarring by reference to gender but the bracket has been widened.
  • PVS – The JCB decided against creating a separate category.
  • Technological and medical advancement – It is recognised that together they have the ability to prolong life as well as reduce pain and suffering. They can permit the return of function and speed up recuperation to an extent where on a case by case basis there is room to argue that an award should fall outside of the range of the appropriate guideline.
  • Minor injury factors – The length of time for recovery is not the only factor in assessing an award. The JCB recognise that recovery may not occur at an even pace over time, but may frequently be much more marked in the very early days of recuperation.

They call for intelligent application of the Guidelines, rather than too casual a focus on the length of time for which it is said the injury was suffered. Perhaps the JCB should recognise this in the sub headings for the 7 A(c) (i) to (iii) rather than making the point in the introduction.

It is a shame that tariff damages are nowhere to be seen in this new edition. The Government has stated an intention to compensate whiplash injuries on a legislative basis. Whilst Brexit and an election have focused the intentions of the legislature elsewhere, we shall continue to monitor and advise upon events as they arise.