Those operating in the personal injury sector will no doubt be aware of the publication of the latest edition of the Judicial College Guidelines in April 2022.

There is no exact science when it comes to valuing personal injury claims and ultimately it is for the judge in any individual case to assess the level of the award to be made for general damages or solatium to use the Scottish terminology. That said, the Guidelines have been in existence for the last 30 years and are used both by judges and practitioners as a guide to help inform decisions about the level of award that might apply in any given case. The Guidelines are informed by a review of awards made by the court in individual cases as well as taking into account the value of money and one of the aims is to try to achieve consistency in so far as that is possible when dealing with cases which will all be unique in their own way.

One of the main changes from the 15th Edition is to adjust the figures contained within each bracket for RPI inflation (6.56%). A further significant change is the removal of the column (in most cases) which provided figures for general damages without the application of the 10% uplift which was introduced in England and Wales primarily to reflect the fact that success fees were no longer recoverable following the implementation of the Jackson reforms in 2013.

Scottish Claims

The significance for those who are handling Scottish claims is that for most categories, the figure represented will be 10% higher than the applicable damages in Scotland and a calculation will be required to convert the uplifted figure back to the pre-uplift figure. This can be done by simply multiplying the figure by a factor of 0.909. An example is included below for illustration purposes.

Chapter 4 Psychiatric & Psychological Damage 16th Edition (Uplift Figures)Conversion calculationPre-Uplift Figures
(A) Psychiatric Damage Generally (a) Severe£54,830 to £115,730£54,830 x 0.909 (£115,730 x 0.909)£49,840 to £105,200

Other Changes

Other changes include a new section within Chapter 4 for Psychiatric and Psychological Damage for "Sexual and/or Physical Abuse". This stems directly out of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. 

A new chapter has also been added (Chapter 8) for Work-related Limb Disorders such as Vibration White Finger in order to separate those injuries from the chapter on orthopaedic injuries (Chapter 7). In addition, a new category has been added (8(C)) for "Cold Injuries" to include freezing injuries (e.g. frostbite) and non-freezing injuries.

Changes have also been made to Chapter 6 (F) Reproductive System: Female. The primary focus had previously been on loss of fertility and reproductive capacity whereas the bracket has now been amended to recognise loss of sexual function etc. and the associated psychological impact of such injuries.


As stated above the Guidelines are just that, and the ultimate decision rests with the court taking into account all of the available evidence which will differ from case to case. Care should be exercised when using the Guidelines particularly in cases involving multiple injuries where it is important to factor in any overlap when coming to a view on how the injuries are likely to be valued by the court. No two cases are exactly the same and it is therefore important to look at previous reported decisions from the courts when considering what a court is likely to award in any given case. Finally, and crucially, for those with claims in Scotland caution should be exercised as the pre-uplift calculation requires to be carried out in each case to avoid overinflating the value of claims in this jurisdiction.


Andrew MacDonald

Trainee Solicitor