I access most of my key practitioner texts electronically now but decided to get a copy of the new JC Guidelines, the first update since January 2020.  The new 16th edition was published on 13 April 2022 and mine arrived last week.

Many of us who use the Guidelines electronically will tend to go straight to the section we need for the injury we are assessing but with the arrival of the new shiny 'pink book', I took a moment to flick through it cover to cover.  Having done so, I thought it might be worth noting some of the changes from the last edition.

First and in case you had not noticed, the 10% Simmonds uplift has been removed from all sections where it applied.  This is largely because the passage of time since the Jackson reforms has meant that the need to consider pre-uplift figures is very infrequent.  However, if you do need to do so, the JC have helpfully provided a formula to apply.  Simply multiply the new uplifted figure by 0.909 to obtain the pre-uplift figure.

A second significant change is in Chapter 4 and concerns damages for psychiatric and psychological damage.  We all know that within this category of injury there is no 'one size fits all' approach.  The JC have now included a third sub-category for these injuries relevant to cases of physical and sexual abuse.  In fact the new sub-category guidelines occupy almost as much space as the rest of the existing bracket for psychiatric and psychological injuries generally.  The inclusion of aggravating factors including the level of abuse of trust, post-abuse manipulation and potential involvement in other proceedings reflects the continuing need for societal recognition and accountability in such cases to ensure that victims are fairly treated and receive proper reparation where appropriate.

The third change I draw to the reader's attention to is Chapter 8 which specifically includes a section for 'cold injuries' including non-freezing cold injuries but be aware the need to consider the brackets for chronic pain in Chapter 9 which may also be relevant here.

Lastly, please be aware of the changes to the guidelines in respect of injuries to both male and female reproductive systems.  The introductions to each of these sub-sections in Chapter 6 recognise a need for parity between these brackets and places importance on factors beyond the physical aspects of loss of fertility or reproductive capacity.

I don't intend to summarise the position around the tariff based whiplash awards as the note on this within the Guidelines says as much as it can in this regard.  Perhaps the most interesting development to look out for will be how the court will approach multiple injury cases which include whiplash.

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