Increase in General damages of 10% to take affect from 1st April next year
The Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and Lord Justice Maurice Kay, vice-president of the Court of Appeal, this morning announced a ten per cent increase in general damages, a key proposal of the Jackson report, from 1 April 2013.
The increase will apply to personal injury cases, nuisance, defamation and “all other torts which cause suffering, inconvenience or distress to individuals”, the judges said.
“With the exception of the ten per cent increase in general damages, the great bulk of those policy recommendations have been adopted in full by the legislature in an Act sponsored by the executive, on the clear understanding that the judges would implement the ten per cent increase,” Lord Judge said at the Court of Appeal.
“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.”
Delivering judgment on behalf of the court in Simmons v Castle  EWCA Civ 1039, Lord Judge said the increase would apply to all cases where judgment was given after 1 April 2013.
“It seems to us that, while it can be said that this conclusion does not achieve perfect justice in every case, the same thing can be said about any other answer to the question, particularly in the light of a number of the forthcoming changes being made to the costs regime pursuant to Sir Rupert’s recommendations.
“Our conclusion has the great merits of (i) providing a simplicity and clarity, which are both so important in litigation, and (ii) according with the recommendation of Sir Rupert, which is consistent with much of the rationale of the ten per cent increase in general damages.”
Lord Judge added that the court 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”.
He added that, in the case before the court, general damages would have been £22,000 rather than £20,000 if the judgment was handed down after 1 April 2013.