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Web Alert: Personal Injury Judicial College Guidelines 12th Edition published

17 October 2013

The 12th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines for the assessment of general damages in personal injury cases (in England and Wales) has been published.

The guidelines are usually updated every two years but this latest edition is published just 12 months after the 11th edition as it follows the implementation of the 10% increase in general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity to coincide with the legislative changes introducing the Jackson Reforms. The decision of the Court of Appeal in Simmons v Castle [2012] EWCA Civ 1288 suggested that a 10% increase in general damages would apply to all cases decided from 1 April 2013, irrespective of the funding arrangements in place.
The new guidelines contain two columns which show the brackets for general damages with and without the 10% uplift. The column without the uplift relates to transitional cases funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement pre dating 1 April 2013 with a recoverable success fee pursuant to section 44(6) of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. It is imperative that transitional cases are identified correctly to ensure the correct bracket for general damages is applied.
The increase in general damages in the new edition is 2.8% but this includes some additional rounding up. The increase reflects the necessary inflationary uplift.
There are some other changes that are worth noting. These are:

  • Post-Concussional Syndrome (“PCS”) – awards should reflect the nature and severity of symptoms rather than a diagnostic label
  • The sections on asbestosis and pleural thickening have been revised. These conditions are now considered in tandem rather than separately.