The 15th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines for assessing general damages for personal injury has been published. As a general guide, the figures have been adjusted to reflect the general increase of RPI of 7% over the period from May 2017 to June 2019, with the amounts rounded up or down as necessary to provide realistic and practical brackets.

Consideration was given as to whether RPI remains the most suitable index for updating the figures or whether another was more suitable. It was determined that RPI should remain the standard.

As there remains a sufficient number of older cases where the 10% Simmons v Simmons uplift will not apply both sets of figures continue to be included. The Guidelines also continue to be used in jurisdictions where the 10% uplift is not applicable.

There is an acknowledgment that an increasing number of litigants in person will use the Guidelines, and this has led to both simplification of some of the injury categories and additional explanatory text.

The Guidelines also address the expected changes to whiplash injuries covered by Section 1 of the Civil Liability Act and note the expected implementation date of April 2020. With the uncertainty around the precise date of the reforms, footnotes are contained within Chapters 7 and 13, confirming that once the whiplash forms are in place, damages awards for injuries of less than two years will be determined by the tariff and not by reference to the Guidelines.

The table below compares the damages brackets for some selected injuries in the new edition with those in the 14th edition, which was introduced in September 2017.