Comparison between the JSB Guidelines published in February 2019 (fifth edition) and the new JSB Guidelines published in March 2024 (sixth edition)

Written by Enya McKenna

The sixth edition JSB” Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases in Northern Ireland” were published in March 2024. The Guidelines, which were eagerly anticipated, are effective immediately.

Generally, general damages have increased by approximately 25% for the majority of injuries, but a more detailed comparison between the fifth-edition and sixth-edition Guidelines has been prepared. Please click here to view. It is highlighted in the introduction to the new Guidelines that although the same Retail Price Index (RPI) has been applied, a more conservative approach has been adopted and no forecast has been made as to what inflation might be at the midpoint of the sixth edition. The previous edition was prepared on the basis of the Retail Price Index (RPI) as at July 2018, projected to the midpoint of that edition (June 2021).

The most notable changes in the sixth edition are as follows:-

• Chapter 4: A Psychiatric Damage. Minor Psychiatric damage has been amended to include adjustment disorders. An adjustment disorder where a virtually full recovery is made within 12 months is valued up to £10,000 and where recovery takes place between 12-24 months up to £20,000;

• Chapter 4: B PTSD. The category of ‘Severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’ sees one of the most significant increases with awards increasing from £60,000-£120,000 to £100,000- £250,000;

• Chapter 5: B Deafness. A separation of categories for deafness and tinnitus has been introduced as it is now recognised that these conditions can be separate and are not inextricably linked. Severe hearing loss has been valued between £60,000-£200,000, with moderate hearing loss between £20,000-£60,000 and mild hearing loss up to £20,000. Severe tinnitus, as a standalone condition, can attract an award in the region of £40,000-£90,000, moderate tinnitus between £20,000-£40,000 and mild tinnitus up to £20,000. It is possible for there to be some doubling up of the injuries, so allowance should be made to avoid over compensation;

• In respect of Chapter 6: D Reproductive System and Chapter 8 B Facial Disfigurement. The distinction between male and female compensation has been removed with one set of increased figures applying to both genders;

• In respect of Chapter 7: A (g) Minor Neck Injuries. The sixth edition has altered the wording so as to provide greater clarity around recovery periods. Minor neck injuries where full recovery takes place within 12-24 months has been increased to up to £17,500, where full recovery takes place between 6-12 months up to £7,500 and where full recovery takes place within 6 months up to £5,000;

• Chapter 7: I Hand injuries. There has been a rationalisation of the categories of injuries to fingers to make them more specific, which can be seen in the table found by clicking here;

• Chapter 8: A (f) A new category has been added to allow for a high award of compensation in respect of “Significant, chronic tooth pain (such as from an untreated abscess) extending over a number of years together with significant general deterioration of the overall condition of the teeth. May include some bone loss and the need for ongoing periodontal treatments- £15,000- £125,000.” Interestingly, the Guidelines for simple displaced fractures of the nose (Chapter 8: A (c ) (iv)) have not changed, with the recommended damages range remaining at £12,500. An unexpected rarity in the sixth edition is the reduction in the value of minor damage to hair (chapter 10 B) which has been reduced from up to £25,000 to up to £10,000.

Click here for a table detailing the comparison between the fifth edition Guidelines published in February 2019 and the sixth edition published in March 2024.

*This information is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute, nor should be regarded, as a substitute for taking legal advice that is tailored to your circumstances.

If you have any queries in relation to this, please do not hesitate to contact Enya McKenna or another member of the Defence Insurance Litigation team at Carson McDowell LLP.

About the author

Enya McKenna

Senior Associate

Enya McKenna is a Senior Associate in the Defence Insurance Litigation team at Carson McDowell. Enya acts on behalf of various insurers and large companies (insured and self-insured) in relation to the defence of a wide range of employer’s liability, public liability and motor related claims, including but not limited to, slipping/tripping claims, manual handling claims, industrial disease claims and road traffic accident claims in both the County Court and High Court.