The Dekagram: 19th June 2023

Law FirmDeka Chambers
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Trials & Appeals & Compensation, Personal Injury
AuthorMs Sarah Prager
Published date20 June 2023

Members of the team have just spent an enjoyable few days at the PEOPIL conference in Thessaloniki, a Greek city of many architectural, archaeological and historical wonders, quite apart from boasting the most astounding tomatoes and cucumbers we've tasted for some considerable time. Whilst some practitioners entertained the conference with presentations in English and Greek, others explored the birthplace of Alexander the Great and stood in the very spot where Philip II of Macedonia was assassinated as he attended the theatre, leaving others to do a spot of scuba diving accident reconstruction. The upshot, of course, is that this week's Dekagram, whilst appropriately Greekly named, is rather shorter than usual, although it does concern an intriguing recent decision of no less a dikastirio than the Coventry County Court. Normal service will be resumed next week.

Crikey! in Coventry

A recent decision by Recorder Jack sitting in Coventry County Court, Blair v Jaber [2023] EW Misc 3 (CC), raises some interesting questions about how (or whether) to adjust the Judicial College Guidelines to take account of inflation. In that case the Claimants claimed damages for personal injuries arising out of a road traffic accident which occurred on 28th October 2020. Mr Blair had sustained a broken clavicle, whilst Mrs Blair had suffered a laceration to her left shin, when the taxi they were travelling in, which was being driven by Mr Jaber, came to a sudden halt, throwing them forwards in their seats (they were not wearing seatbelts at the time). The Recorder applied a 25% deduction on account of contributory negligence in the light of the guidance in Froom v Butcher [1976] 1 QB 286.

In dealing with general damages, and bearing in mind that the Judicial College Guidelines were 11 months old at the time of trial, the Recorder said this:

I first make a general point about the Judicial College Guidelines. The current edition was published on 11th April 2022, nearly a year ago. The figures in this latest edition were probably finalised earlier. Since then, we have had inflation such as has not been seen since the 1970s. The Office of National Statistics figure for January 2023 released on 15th February 2023 showed the Retail Price Index at 13.4% per annum. The source of that is www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices, accessed on 8th March 2023. 1

The Judicial College Guidelines, unlike the Northern Irish Green Book, do not take future inflation into account. I need...

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