There is a chasm between the amount of compensation catastrophically injured people can receive in Northern Ireland compared to those in the rest of the UK.
A deduction, or discount, is made by the courts to large lump sum compensation payments to offset the expected return injured people could make from investing the money. Severely injured people in Northern Ireland are subject to far greater deductions on their compensation because the ‘discount rate’ has been left at 2.5 per cent for many years. The Lord Chancellor has this week set a new rate for England and Wales of minus 0.25 per cent and a new rate is anticipated for Scotland soon.
Injured people in Northern Ireland must take greater risks to make their money stretch to meet their needs for life. Risk does not always mean reward, so their compensation could run out. It is wholly unfair for vulnerable people and their families to have to live with this terrifying uncertainty.
The disparity needs to be addressed immediately. It cannot be right that people with life-long life-changing injuries in Northern Ireland are subject to a discount rate which is deemed no longer appropriate in the rest of the UK.
Joint Northern Ireland co-ordinator
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)