The Judicial College Guidelines and its role in personal injury claims

One of the first questions asked by clients at the start of their personal injury claim is how much compensation they can expect to receive. However, it is a question which can never be accurately answered as the claims process is a complicated one which requires ongoing investigation to calculate an accurate compensation award. For example, it is usually too early to know the full extent of the consequential losses sustained by the client. Despite the various issues to consider when calculating the damages in a personal injury claim, the Judicial College Guidelines provide a constant reference for personal injury lawyers throughout a claim when calculating general damages.

What is the purpose of the Judicial College Guidelines?

The Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages are designed to, as put by the Editors, ‘reflect the award of general damages currently being made by judges’ in the United Kingdom to make the work of personal injury lawyers and judges easier, clearer and consistent. These same Guidelines are used in all types of personal injury claims. Our specialist team at Moore Barlow are experienced in regularly consulting these Guidelines in order to provide accurate updates on any change to the compensation in a claim.

How do the guidelines work?

The Guidelines contain 14 chapters and all relate to a different group of injury. For example, Chapter 4 relates to psychiatric and psychological injury and contains sub-sections covering specific conditions. These sub-sections provide a range of awards for the particular injury, based on the severity of the injury, the prognosis for recovery and any long-term consequences. These range of awards are based on previous Court decisions.

For example, Chapter 4 Section (B) relates to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Damages range from £4,820 (in cases where a virtually full recovery is made within one or two years) to £122,850 in cases which involve permanent effects. All aspects of the injured person’s life will also be badly affected to fall within this upper range. Our Human First approach at Moore Barlow means we listen attentively to our clients’ needs and work diligently with them to get them the treatment they deserve; this in turn enables us to value their claim as accurately as possible.

Do the ranges of compensation ever change?

Yes, they do. In fact, the 17th edition of the Guidelines was published in April 2024 which includes a 22% increase in compensation for all types of injury, compared to its previous edition (published in 2022). This has been done to reflect the significant rise in inflation in recent years. Additionally, the new edition has added a new ‘moderately severe’ sub-category of damages for sexual and/or physical abuse cases which, together with the 22% increase, has significantly increased the range of compensation for injuries in this area. Damages in this area now range from £11,870 for less severe cases to £183,050 for the most severe.

This increase applies to existing claims as well as new ones.

It should be noted that the Guidelines are not binding and are used as a starting point when determining the appropriate compensation for general damages. Every case is unique and the sums will be adjusted to account for the specific circumstances of a case.

How Moore Barlow can help

Achieving appropriate compensation is often complex and requires exceptional legal support. Our specialist serious injury lawyers are highly experienced in dealing with the Judicial College Guidelines and can offer legal services within the UK and abroad from our offices in London, Richmond, Southampton, Guildford, Lymington and Woking. We will offer specialist support and expert advice to anyone struggling with personal injury. Please contact our Personal injury team for more information.