The Court of Appeal has revisted its earlier July 2012 judgment in which they controversially announced that with effect from 1st April 2013 general damages in tort cases would increase by 10% from current levels. Following an application by the Association of British Insurers in August to intervene the court was invited to reconsider whether the 10% increase should only apply to cases where the claimant’s funding arrangements for his or her legal costs had been agreed after 1st April 2013.
One of the primary concerns expressed by insurers about the 10% uplift in damages was that a successful claimant who begins a claim before 1st April 2013, under a CFA or with the benefit of ATE insurance, would be entitled to both the 10% increase in damages and the continued recoverability of any success fee or ATE insurance premium if the proceedings conclude after 1st April 2013.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and The Personal Injuries Bar were joined as 2nd and 3rd Interested Parties and the court recovened on 25th September 2012 to consider written and oral submissions. Having done so, they concluded that….
“…we would, as it were, delete para 19 from our earlier judgment, and replace para 20 with the following paragraph:
“Accordingly, we take this opportunity to declare that, with effect from 1 April 2013, the proper level of general damages in all civil claims for (i) pain and suffering, (ii) loss of amenity, (iii) physical inconvenience and discomfort, (iv) social discredit, (v) mental distress, or (vi) loss of society of relatives, will be 10% higher than previously, unless the claimant falls within section 44(6) of LASPO. It therefore follows that, if the action now under appeal had been the subject of a judgment after 1 April 2013, then (unless the claimant had entered into a CFA before that date) the proper award of general damages would be 10% higher than that agreed in this case, namely £22,000 rather than £20,000”.
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