Home / Insight / Judicial College Guidelines Version 17

Judicial College Guidelines Version 17


With the 17th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines having landed on the doormats of many practitioners over the past few days, and an anticipated official publication date of 5 April, we take a look at the impact that inflation has had on the recommended settlement guidelines for general damages.

What impact has inflation played in the latest set of Guidelines?

Whilst the uplift varies slightly across the differing injury brackets, the average uplift is 22%. We have provided some examples at the conclusion of this alert for illustrative purposes.

According to the commentary within the Guidelines, the brackets in the 17th edition are only uplifted due to inflation up until the end of August 2023, so further uplift will need to be allowed for up until the date of settlement.  However, according to the Hargreaves Lansdown RPI calculator, there has been minimal change to RPI since September 2023 to January 2024 (0.1% decrease during that time frame).

Is there any commentary about the continued use of RPI?

Yes – within the introduction to the Guidelines reference has been made to the fact that numerous submissions have been received by the Judicial College urging them to depart from the use of RPI as the appropriate inflationary index, and to use an alternative index (Consumer Prices Index). However, they state that it is not for the Judicial College editorial team to adopt a different inflationary index from that which has been ‘judicially approved’ and that any change to the adopted inflationary index must be the result of a challenge made in the courts.    

We would urge readers to listen to our latest podcast with the barrister David Green from 12 Kings Bench Walk which specifically addresses this topic.

Are there any significant exceptions to the average 22% uplift?

Yes – within the awards for injuries resulting from sexual abuse, comments include the fact that there are a “small cluster of decisions concerning damages for sexual abuse, including image based abuse... which has led to… adjustments to the brackets”.  This includes an increase for severe psychological injury from sexual abuse awards increasing by 144% at the bottom end of the bracket in the past 2 years (from £45,000 to £120,000 in the 16th edition to £109,830 - £183,050 in the 17th edition).

Clarification is also contained within the Guidelines in relation to Chapter 2 (injuries for paralysis) in that where an award has been made for the provision of technology which restores the claimant’s function or reduces the claimant’s pain, this may result in a lower award for general damages (as per the case of Scarcliffe v Brampton Valley).

What do the uplifts mean in practice?

The Guidelines are just that – guidelines, and the assessment of the appropriate award in a case for pain, suffering and loss of amenity remains one for the court, as does the appropriate inflationary measure to use. 

As we explored in our recent Market Affairs podcast with David Green, referenced above, the use of RPI for inflating general damages has not been specifically challenged in the courts, and a failure to do so is likely to result in the continued use of RPI as the inflationary measure utilised for uplifting the JC Guidelines in the future. 

Examples of uplifts:

Chapter 14  Minor Injuries

Injury17th Edition Bracket16th Edition BracketUplift
Recovery within 7 daysFew Hundred Pounds - £840.00Few Hundred Pound - £690.00c21%
Recovery within 28 days£840.00 - £1,680.00£690.00 - £1,370.00c22%
Recovery within 3 months£1,680.00 - £2,990.00£1,370.00 - £2,450.00c22%


Chapter 7 Orthopaedic Injuries

 Injury 17th Edition Bracket 16th Edition BracketUplift 
 6/7 Month Knee £2,750.00 £2,250.00 c22%
 Modest Leg Injury – Few months £2,990.0 £2,450.00 c22%
 Loss of both legs £293,850 - £344,150 £240,790 - £282,010 c22%
12 month wrist£5,790.00£4,740.00c22%
12 month elbow injury£4,310.00£3,530.00c22%
Minor hip injury with full recovery£4,820.00£3,950.00c22%


Chapter 2 Injuries Involving Paralysis 

Injury17th Edition Bracket16th Edition BracketUplift
Tetraplegia396,140 - £493,000£324,600 – £403,990c22%
Paraplegia£267,340 - £346,890£219,070 – £284,260c22%



For more information please contact:

Ken Young

Mark Hall

Mark Whalley

Ben Leech


Natalie Larnder

Natalie Larnder
Head of Market Affairs


Stay informed with Keoghs


Our Expertise


Claims Technology Solutions

Disrupting claims management with innovation & technology


The service you deliver is integral to the success of your business. With the right technology, we can help you to heighten your customer experience, improve underwriting performance, and streamline processes.