Uplift in exceptional circumstances

Part of Civil Liability Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:00 am ar 11 Medi 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Rory Stewart Rory Stewart The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 11:00, 11 Medi 2018

The Judicial College guidelines are simply a historical record of awards by the courts. It is a fact that those awards to date have been higher than the awards we propose in the tariff. The policy intention is to reduce the general damages paid, particularly for people at the three-to-six-month level. As we get closer to the two-year level, awards under the tariff come closer to the Judicial College guidelines, but at the lower end, as was suggested, there is a disagreement between the Government and the current practice of judges about the appropriate award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

There has been a lot of discussion about experts, but right hon. and hon. Members must remember that we are discussing general damages, not money for loss of earnings or to pay for physiotherapy. We are discussing a judgment of exactly how many pounds and pence someone should receive for a whiplash injury—for the subjective experience of pain in their neck or shoulder. It is difficult to argue that there is particular expertise on the question of the subjective experience of pain. Indeed, as the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate suggested, it is impossible for anyone—whether they are a Minister, a judge or a doctor—to suggest that the money that is paid can remove the pain. The pain remains. Money paid in general damages is intended simply as an acknowledgement of the existence of pain, suffering or loss of amenity. It cannot, as would be the case with special damages, remove the pain itself. On that basis, I politely request that the amendments be withdrawn and the clause be accepted.