The discount rate-setting process started today…

…in England & Wales, with Royal Assent to the Civil Liability Act 2018 being noted at the beginning of this morning’s proceedings in the House of Lords.

The Act requires the Lord Chancellor start the first rate review within up to 90 days (i.e. in or around mid-March 2019) and thereafter a further period of up to 140 days is allowed (which would run into early August 2019).

Within this second period the Government Actuary is allowed up to 80 days to carry out his analysis, something which will be framed by the terms of reference provided to him by the Lord Chancellor when instructing him. It is not clear if or when those terms of reference might be published.

The whole rate-setting process could turn out to run more quickly, although at present there is simply no information on which to base any accurate assessment of how more quickly – if at all – a new rate might be set.

Perhaps all that may be said at this stage is that it would appear plausible – but not necessarily a certainty – to expect the Lord Chancellor to wait until after 30 January 2019 before starting this first review since that (a) is the closing date of his department’s current call for evidence about the investment advice and behaviours of claimants receiving damages for future losses and (b) in any event it falls within the initial 90 day window allowed under the new Act.

It might also be plausible to expect a new rate to be set before Parliament’s summer recess next year, which could be expected to be in the week beginning 22 July 2019.

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Authored by Alistair Kinley, director of policy and government affairs

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