New Judicial College Guidelines

05 October 2017

The starting point for assessing general damages in personal injury cases is of course by reference to the Judicial College Guidelines. On 17 September 2017, the Committee published the 14th edition of the Guidelines.

Awards have increased in line with the Retail Price Index so claimants will find that their compensation should increase by roughly 4.8% with some exceptions. This is of course good news for claimants but defendant solicitors are already warning that some of the other changes are good news for defendant insurers looking to limit their payments!

Some of the main changes are as follows:

  • Scientific and technological developments now have relevance to injuries involving paralysis
  • Paraplegia – impact on sexual function is now a consideration
  • Very severe brain damage – there is now a reference to ‘locked in’ syndrome and new symptoms which affect the level of award have been added
  • Orchidectomy – there is now a bracket for those cases where there’s no loss of sexual function or impotence
  • Minor finger injuries – now includes scarring, tenderness and reaction to the cold where there is full recovery
  • Modest foot injuries – there’s now more guidance on how to differentiate between a range of injuries in this bracket from serious fractures causing a limp, to straightforward injuries like lacerations that result in complete recovery
  • Facial injuries – the distinction between males and females has been removed – no longer is it justifiable that women should be awarded more compensation
  • Minor injuries generally – there is a drive not to focus on the length of symptoms as recovery for claimants may not occur at an even pace and may be more pronounced in initial period – an argument that can be used by both claimants and defendants alike!

By Natalie Hirst

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