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General damages to increase by 10% from April 2013

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that general damages will increase by 10% for all judgments made after 1 April 2013.

Senior figures at the judiciary said the judgment was being made several months in advance to provide ‘simplicity and clarity’ before the recently passed Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) comes into force next year.

The LASPO Act 2012 has changed the way that cases (including personal injury) can be funded. Under the current Conditional Fee Agreement system (which will soon be ‘old’) lawyers are able to recover a “success fee” from the loser in a civil claim. From April 2013, winners will now have to pay the success fee out of their damages award. This fee will be capped at 25%.
It was announced by the Lord Chief Justice, Master of the Rolls and Vice-President of the Court of Appeal;

“We take this opportunity to declare that, with effect from 1 April 2013, the proper level of general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity in respect of personal injury, nuisance, defamation and all other torts which cause suffering, inconvenience or distress to individuals, will be 10% higher than previously”
In the judgment, it was acknowledged that the uplift would not achieve ‘perfect justice in every case’, but that the same thing could be said of any of the changes happening to the civil system at the moment.

If you have had an accident recently, particularly in the last 1 – 2 years, and are undecided as to whether you want to pursue a claim, I urge you to contact one of our injury claims specialists to discuss your options. If you delay and do not bring your claim until after 1 April 2013, you are at risk of receiving a lower award than you would if you brought your claim now despite the judgment made yesterday.