Until recently “Mr 10 %” has probably best been known as a gaming app which can be bought and downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet. The aim of the game is, as an “agent to the stars”, to buy and sell celebrities and make enough profit as quickly as possible to lead the life of the rich and famous.
For lawyers, however, “Mr 10 %” is Lord Justice Jackson who, in recommendation 10 out of 109 recommendations in paragraph 5.3 of chapter 10 of his Costs Review Final Report recommended that in personal injuries litigation the level of general damages for pain suffering and loss of amenity should be increased by 10%.
Lord Justice Jackson explained his reasoning in a lecture in London on 29 February 2012 (the tenth lecture in his “Implementation Programme”) entitled “Why Ten Per Cent?”
In that lecture Lord Justice Jackson responded to the criticism that a 10% increase in general damages was not enough by stating “first, the forthcoming reforms to conditional fee agreements (“CFAs”) could quite properly be introduced without any increase in general damages. Secondly, the proposed increase of 10% has the consequence that most claimants will be better off under the package of reforms as a whole. Thirdly, it would not be proper to unpick this part of the package in an attempt to secure additional cash for claimants and their lawyers”.
Yesterday (26 July 2012) in Simmons v Castle  EWCA Civ 1039 the Court of Appeal handed down a judgment which implements that increase in general damages from 1 April 2013.
Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, giving the judgment of the court which also comprised the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger and the Vice-President of the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Maurice Kay, said that the increase was in line with Lord Justice Jackson’s report on civil litigation costs.
Lord Judge added that it was clear that the Court of Appeal “not merely has the power, but a positive duty, to monitor, and where appropriate to alter, the guideline rates for general damages in personal injury actions” – see  of the judgment.
The court explained that early notice was being given of the 10% increase due to take effect in April 2013 to enable all parties engaged in or contemplating litigation to be aware of the impending change and to prepare accordingly.
In terms of how the new guidelines will be applied, the Court of Appeal ruled that the 10% increase should apply to all cases where judgment is given after 1 April 2013.
The increase will also apply to defamation, nuisance and all other torts which cause suffering, distress or inconvenience to individuals.
Whether this will bring “a windfall benefit to the majority of all personal injury claimants” as Lord Justice Jackson envisaged in his February lecture remains to be seen.
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