25 years after the publication of the 1st Edition of the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines (as they were then called), the 14th Edition of the Judicial College Guidelines has now been published online, and will be published in paperback later this month.
Published at a time when legislation to introduce tariffs for whiplash injuries is anticipated, the 14th Edition takes into account both inflation and decisions of the higher courts on quantum, and, as with the previous edition, includes a bracket for cases where a pre-31 March 2013 funding arrangement has been entered and a bracket for cases to which the 10% uplift applies as recommended as part of Lord Justice Jackson's reforms of 2013 and introduced following the decision in Simmons v Castle.
We set out below a sample of the brackets as set out in the 13th Edition and 14th Edition, from which you will note that the lower end of some brackets has been reduced, alongside increases to the upper end of the brackets, in effect stretching the range of outcomes. For other brackets an increase has been applied across the bracket allowing for an inflationary increase of 4.8%:
It is worthy of note that the brackets for minor whiplash injuries, much of which may be rendered redundant if Government implements tariffs for whiplash injuries in accordance with its stated aims, indicate that a number of factors may justify awards in excess of or lower than the brackets, including the intensity of pain, impact of the injuries on work, social activities and day to day living, and the need for medication.
Another change to the guidelines is the introduction of one set of brackets for scarring to other parts of the body (Chapter 10), rather than separate gender-specific chapters.
Given their publication, insurers and compensators should consider the new guidelines in relation to both future and existing offers; in some cases it may be appropriate for reserves and offers to be increased in anticipation of the Courts using the new Guidelines when assessing damages, although in practice most valuations applied to individual claims will have built in an element of inflation from the 13th edition since the time they were made.