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Claimant personal injury damages to rise in 2013

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Further to the recommendations of Lord Justice Jackson in 2010, the Court of Appeal has considered and handed down judgment in the case of Simmons v Castle [2012] EWCA Civ 1039 to lead to a 10% increase in the amount that a successful Claimant will be awarded in respect of any injuries suffered in a Personal Injury case.

There was expectation that the 10% uplift would be implemented with the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, however, the statute, which is due to come in to force in April 2013, failed to include provision for the uplift leading to questions in the Personal Injury field as to how this would be enforced by the judiciary.

The action taken by the Court of Appeal will ensure that a consistent approach can be delivered in the assessment of damages in future case. The Court of Appeal commented in the Simmons judgment that: “This court has not merely the power, but a positive duty, to monitor and where appropriate to alter, the guideline rates for general damages.”

The judgment is thought to have been provided at this stage to allow all parties involved in, or contemplating litigation to be aware of the impending change and to make appropriate preparations as the Court of Appeal has ruled that the 10% uplift should apply to all cases where judgment is handed down after 1st April 2013.

By Barry Sutton