MDU gives cautious welcome to Bill to change way discount rate set

Measures to change the way the personal injury discount rate is set were announced by the Ministry of Justice today.

Responding to the announcement of the Civil Liability Bill, Dr Christine Tomkins, MDU chief executive, said:

'The proposals to change the way the personal injury discount rate is set come not a moment too soon. The previous reduction in the rate, (the mechanism used to calculate personal injury awards for special damages including future care), has had a dramatic effect on compensation and has driven up the cost of indemnity to unaffordable levels. For example, the MDU estimates that a claim involving an eight-year old patient with a life expectancy of 46 years that was previously settled for £9.45 million could now be settled for £15.65 million.

'The drastic 3.25% reduction in the rate which took effect from March 2017 has not been informed by the way claimants actually invest their compensation. The proposed Bill is an acknowledgment that no one knows what claimants do with their compensation award. We are pleased to see the proposals to modernise the procedure for setting the rate to reflect reality and to introduce experts to provide an evidence base for the Lord Chancellor.

'While welcome, the proposed reforms won't address the rocketing cost of compensation in the longer term which continues to spiral out of control to everyone's detriment. For that we need the government to grasp the nettle and introduce radical reform to achieve a fair system for clinical negligence claims.'

This guidance was correct at publication 20/03/2018. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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