General damages are to rise by 10% in civil cases from 1 April 2013, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge has confirmed. The rise will apply to cases involving 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.
Lord Judge confirmed the change while giving judgment in the Court of Appeal case of Simmons v Castle  EWCA Civ 1039. He explained he was giving early notice of the change to enable parties engaged in or contemplating litigation to prepare ahead of the implementation of the Jackson reforms next year.
He said: “This court has not merely the power, but a positive duty, to monitor and where appropriate to alter, the guideline rates for general damages.”
The 10% increase was part of the measures recommended by Lord Justice Jackson in his review of civil litigation costs. Many of these measures will be brought into force in April in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
However, the Act does not provide for a rise in damages. According to the Judicial Office, this is because, as Lord Diplock observed in the personal injury case of Wright v British Railways Board  2 AC 773 (HL), the Court of Appeal is “generally speaking the tribunal best qualified to set guidelines for judges trying such actions”.
The 10% rise will apply to all cases where judgment is given after 1 April 2013.