On 26 July 2012, the Court of Appeal (comprising the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and the Vice President of the Court of Appeal) handed down judgment in the case of Simmons v Castle.
The appeal was in relation to approval of a settlement of an appeal in a personal injury action, the facts of which are not really relevant. What is important is that the judges took the opportunity to set out the future approach to the measurement of general damages in all tort actions (not just personal injury cases):
“From 1 April 2013, the proper level of general damages for (i) pain and suffering and loss of amenity in respect of personal injury, (ii) nuisance, (iii) defamation and (iv) all other torts which cause suffering, inconvenience or distress to other individuals, will be 10 per cent higher than previously.”
The increase is as a result of the implementation of the Jackson reforms, the majority of which will come into force on 1 April 2013 by way of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The recommendations made by Sir Rupert Jackson are being introduced on the basis that they form a coherent package of reforms and that the judiciary will give effect to the 10 per cent increase in damages.
This judgment does exactly that.