Significant news on the discount rate in Northern Ireland

Officials from the NI Department of Justice gave evidence this afternoon on the way forward following consultation over the summer on the mechanism for setting the personal injury discount rate. There are two significant developments:

  • First that the officials indicated that on balance the Department had concluded it would not proceed to reset the existing rate based on the 1996 Act, ILGS yields and Wells v Wells.
  • Second is that the Department will seek to introduce legislation quickly to deliver a new legal framework for setting the discount rate.
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Swift v Carpenter: where we are now on calculating accommodation awards

The decision in Swift earlier in the month significantly changes how this head of loss is assessed in catastrophic injury cases. In the ten days since the judgment was delivered, there have been (virtual) acres of technical commentary and various on-line briefings have been held, including two that we facilitated and including our spreadsheet (attached at the end of this blog) which performs the new calculation.

The purpose of this blog is therefore neither to provide an in-depth analysis of the decision nor to offer a ‘how to’ guide to the new approach – however, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Andrew Hibbert or me if we can help with that – but rather to draw out core points, below, which have become a good deal clearer after considered reflection on the outcome.

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E-scooters – important messages buried

Yesterday Transport Minister Rachel Maclean MP dealt with two written questions on what the government is doing to raise public awareness that the use of privately owned escooters is and will remain illegal. Written questions are, in my view at least, slightly obscure and hardly the best channel through which important public messages would be likely to reach a broad audience. So while her messages (at these links 97467 & 97468) are definitely important, accurate and timely, it is a little disappointing that they are, frankly, buried in the sort of Parliamentary minutiae that really only policy nerds (like me) might pick up on.


Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs alistair.kinley@blmlaw.com