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Govt personal injury move split legal opinion

The Gibraltar Government has published draft legislation that seeks to limit financial compensation for people who have suffered clinical negligence or personal injuries, in a move that has split opinion in the legal community.

While some lawyers say the legislation will bring certainty to personal injury claims and reduce legal bills, others insist it could place vulnerable people at greater risk.

At the heart of the discussion is the Bill for a Damages Act 2018, which was published earlier this week.

The Bill, once approved by Parliament, would set lower limits on pay-outs for damages than has been the case in recent decisions of the Supreme Court.

The proposed legislation also affects the rate of return to be expected from the investment of a sum awarded as damages for future financial loss in an action for personal injury.

The Bill was published in the wake of two Supreme Court decisions that questioned whether the ‘English method’ of assessing the value of personal injury claims should apply to Gibraltar.

Former Puisne Judge Adrian Jack had determined in two separate cases in relation to the assessment of general damages that the English guidelines were not appropriate for Gibraltar.

The judge found that the English guidelines were too low for the “particular circumstances of Gibraltar” and that the Supreme Court should instead follow the Northern Irish guidelines, which allowed for bigger payments.

The difference is potentially significant.

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