Legislation on NI personal injury discount rate set to follow Scottish model

In evidence today to the Justice Committee, the Justice Minister and her officials summarised the content of the recently finalised Damages (Return on Investment) Bill. The text of the Bill is not yet publicly available but – based on today’s oral evidence – it will follow the approach adopted in Scotland. Subject to any future amendments, this means that:

  • the rate-setting task will be assigned to the Government Actuary rather than a Minister
  • the notional low risk investment portfolio, the return on which the discount rate will be based, will be set out on the face of the Bill
  • the return on the portfolio will be adjusted to take account of inflation and prescribed adjustments of 0.75%, for tax and investment advice, and of 0.5%, as a margin against under-compensation, will also be made
  • one area of divergence from Scotland is that the investment period to be assumed is 43 years rather than 30 years
  • the GA will have 90 days following commencement of the legislation, when passed, to complete the rate-setting exercise
  • the rate will then be reviewed in summer 2024 (at the same time as in Scotland) and thereafter every five years.

The Minister is pressing for the new legislation to secure accelerated passage through the Assembly. She indicated that a new rate could be in place by the autumn on that basis. That seems to be an optimistic assessment in itself and it looks even more optimistic in light of the Committee’s strong resistance to accelerated passage. We will look at this aspect in a further post in the next couple of days.

Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs

Scottish industrial disease NHS charges bill withdrawn

The Liability for NHS Charges (Treatment of Industrial Disease) (Scotland) Bill has been withdrawn from the Scottish Parliament by Stuart McMillan MSP, the member who proposed this legislation. If enacted, this member’s bill would have allowed recovery by the state of charges incurred by the health service in the provision of treatment to pursuers with industrial disease but only where the cause of action arose after commencement of the proposed new law.

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BLM discusses the new Ogden Tables

Following the publication of the eighth edition of the tables late last week, Alistair Kinley and Andrew Williamson outline their views on the key changes to the tables of personal injury multipliers and address some of the new points of emphasis in the accompanying explanatory notes. Their video presentation builds on our news article of 20 July about this latest edition of the tables and can be viewed below.

To view the video in full screen, please click here to be directed to our YouTube channel.

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