The Court of Appeal yesterday confirmed that general damages will increase by 10% for all judgments made after 1 April 2013.
General damages are the element of damages paid to a claimant for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in personal injury cases which cause suffering, inconvenience or distress to individuals. This element of any claim has often been the cause of complaint given the relatively little value, in monetary terms, often received for serious and long lasting significant injuries.
The uplift was a key element of Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendations for reform of the civil litigation system and whilst not included in Government legislation to enact Jackson’s report, the judgment is unlikely to be ignored by the judiciary. Trial judges are almost certain to apply it which is good news for claimants.
This should go a little way to offsetting the shifting of costs of pursuing claims onto claimants who could now bear some of the costs of a claim even if successful. This cost shifting, which in essence is limiting the circumstances in which an unsuccessful litigant can be ordered to pay the successful party's costs, will no doubt come to the surface next year as a result of the Government implementing a number of recommendations made to changes in the civil justice system in the Jackson report.