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10% increase in general damages after 1 April 2013

A 10% increase in general damages will apply to all cases involving personal injury, nuisance, defamation and all torts causing suffering and inconvenience to individuals from 1 April 2013.

The Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and Lord Justice Maurice Kay, vice‐president of the Court of Appeal, confirmed the increase in the Court of Appeal in the case of Simmons v Castle [2012] EWCA. There was nothing controversial about the case itself. It concerned the approval of a settlement brought in a personal injury action. However the hearing provided the Court with the opportunity of implementing a recommendation of the Final Report on Civil Litigation Costs, known as the ‘Jackson Report.’ The Report recommended, inter alia, an increase of 10% on general damages principally to reflect restrictions on the recovery of success fees and ATE insurance in CFA cases.

The bulk of the Jackson recommendations are to be adopted by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Lord Judge commented that “It would therefore be little short of a breach of faith for the judiciary not to give effect to the ten per cent increase in damages recommended by Sir Rupert.” He added that following Heil v Rankin [2001] Q.B 272 the CA had not “merely the power, but a positive duty, to monitor, and where appropriate to alter the guideline rates for general damages in personal injury actions.”

Early notice was being given to enable all parties engaged in or contemplating litigation to be aware of the impending change, and prepare accordingly. The 10% increase should apply to all cases where judgment is given after 1 April 2013.

Vaughan Jacob / 1st Aug 2012


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