The latest edition of the JC Guidelines have now been published. The 14th edition sees figures increased to reflect the general increase in inflation of 4.8%.
On the whole, there are minimal changes to the latest edition. The main points to note are as follows:
- Scarring - the guidelines no longer differentiate between awards for scarring according to gender.
- Technological and medical advances - it is noted in the introduction to the guidelines that technological and medical advances can ameliorate some of the worst effects of serious conditions and may make injuries less painful, permit return of greater function, or allow for a quicker or more complete degree of recuperation. The brackets provided in the guidelines represent the current value of past decisions, and courts are encouraged to allow arguments that an award should fall outside of a bracket where appropriate.
- Minor injuries - the new edition of the guidelines encourages practitioners to focus away from the length of time for which symptoms have been suffered as that takes insufficient account of the other factors which should be assessed, and often obscures the fact that in many cases recovery may not occur at an even pace over time, but may frequently be much more marked in the very early days of recuperation.
Whilst there are no significant changes to any of the brackets in the 14th Edition of the JC Guidelines, it is advisable to reconsider any current offers of settlement to ensure that they still provide adequate cost protection.
In the last edition of the JC Guidelines, it was suggested that some index other than RPI might be appropriate. It seems that they have decided against this course of action for the time being although the idea has not been completely ruled out and might still be introduced at a later date.