Shock horror! Justice for claimants after all

Congratulations to the Lord Chancellor, Elizabeth Truss, for (a) doing the right thing and (b) for leaving many claimants’ lawyers stunned. Today (27.02.17), the Lord Chancellor has announced that the discount rate of 2.5% (the basis for calculation of future losses in personal injury and clinical negligence claims) will be reduced to minus 0.75%!

No-one on the claimants’ side in their wildest dreams believed that the Lord Chancellor would do this. At best, it was hoped that the reduction would be to 1.5% perhaps.

Much ado about nothing? Not at all.

Defendant insurance companies will be reeling from this news and claimants’ legal advisers will be redrafting their served schedules of loss to re-serve them on or shortly after 20 March 2017 – when the new rate comes into effect.

In a claim where the loss runs at £100,000 for a ten-year period, it has been calculated that the new rate will result in a claim of £1,038,000 compared to the old rate which would have produced a claim of £886,000!

In very large claims for future loss, the change will result in a gigantic increase. A six million pound claim could easily turn into a ten million pound claim.

So claimants appear to have won a great victory today and the old rate, which has been unchanged since 2001, will finally bite the dust.

How will defendants’ insurers, for example, react? If I was the Lord Chancellor I would not be expecting a Christmas card from the Association of British Insurers (ABI)!


This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Isabel Bathurst

Associate, Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence

Isabel joined Hart Brown as an Associate in June 2017 after spending five years as Partner at Pierre Thomas and Partners, working on high value...

Associate, Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence

Isabel Bathurst

Isabel joined Hart Brown as an Associate in June 2017 after spending five years as Partner at Pierre Thomas and Partners, working on high value cases with a foreign element including the leading case under Rome II of Syred v PZU and HDI which went to trial in 2015. This claim involved 2 passengers in a vehicle involved in an accident in Poland. However, the claimants lived in England and were able to bring their claim in the English courts but the court applied Polish law to the valuation of the damages awarded to each claimant.

Isabel has experience of both clinical negligence and personal injury claims, particularly catastrophic injury claims involving brain and spinal injuries, and as well as having a Diploma in Advanced Litigation, she is also an APIL Senior Litigator.

Most memorable case?
Syred v PZU and HDI (2015)

First album purchase?
Michael Jackson - Bad

Favourite film?
James Bond films

Favourite travel destination?

What would you have done if you had not become a lawyer?
I always wanted to be a nurse

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