NI discount rate: Bill was passed yesterday and a new rate is expected towards Easter 2022

The Final Stage of the Damages Return on Investment Bill detained the NU Assembly yesterday for a little over 15 minutes. This step means that the Bill has completed all its Assembly Stages and should receive Royal Assent soon – perhaps before the Christmas recess – to be followed by a commencement order. The legislation then allows the Government Actuary up to 90 days to calculate the discount rate (applying the methodology in the Bill’s schedule), although indications from the Department of Justice are that the process could be completed sooner. If that were to happen, we could be operating under a new rate as early as some time in March 2022.

The expectation is that the new rate will be higher than the so-called ‘interim’ rate of -1.75% which was introduced in at the end of May. As the chair of the Committee noted yesterday, it had been advised that “the set rate of -1·75% … is the lowest in the world and has the potential to lead to overcompensation in a large number of cases.”

Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs

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