Personal Injury Guidelines to be increased by 10% from April 2013-

In General Litigation by AAH

Hafezis Comments:  This is positive for all victims of personal injury claims as they will not receive the amount of compensation relative to the pain and suffering they sustained at the hands of negligent Defendants. However also on a positive we can still act for all our client’s making a personal injury claim on a no-win-no-fee basis, where they still keep 100% of their compensation. It must be noted that the Guidelines are not rule of law,but are helpful for lower courts…

CHRISTOPHER SIMMONS v DEREK CASTLE (2012

[2012] EWCA Civ 1039

CA (Civ Div) (Lord Judge LCJLord Neuberger (MR)Sir Maurice Kay (VP CA Civ)) 26/07/2012

DAMAGES – PERSONAL INJURY – TORTS – CIVIL PROCEDURE

NDERS ACT 2012

 The Court of Appeal set guidelines on the level of general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in respect of personal injury, nuisance, defamation and all other torts which caused suffering, inconvenience or distress to individuals, at 10 per cent higher than hitherto to start from April 1, 2013.

The endorsement of a settlement in a personal injury action between the appellant motorcyclist (S) and the respondent car driver (C) provided the Court of Appeal with an opportunity to declare an increase of 10 per cent in general damages in most tort actions with effect from April 1, 2013.

Following the recommendations of the Jackson report, and in anticipation of the entry into force of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 on April 1, 2013, reforms to the civil litigation costs regime were required and one element of that was that general damages should rise by 10 per cent (see recommendations 10 and 65 (i)). The legislation had been enacted as a coherent package and both the executive and the legislature relied on the judiciary to give effect to the 10 per cent increase.

HELD: Consistency of approach in the assessment of damages was important because it was a fundamental aspect of justice, and because it assisted settlement (see para.10 of judgment). The court had the power and a continuous responsibility to monitor and set the guideline rates for general damages in tort claims, including personal injury actions, Heil v Rankin [2001] Q.B. 272 followed (paras13-14). Although guidelines as to the quantum of conventional damages were neither rules of law, nor practice rules, they were addressed to first instance judges, and it was highly desirable that parties to litigation and their advisers had confidence that trial judges would apply them, Wright v British Railways Board [1983] 2 A.C. 773 at 784H applied (para.18). The increase was to be applied to all cases where judgment was given after April 1, 2013 (para.19). The terms of the instant settlement maintained the original award but provided that S was entitled to apply for further damages if he developed a long term disabling illness or died (para.4).

Appeal allowed