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JUDGES deciding personal injury awards will now be able to take into account a greater number of variables including occupation, geographic location and national economic growth.
The increased flexibility stems from a revised edition of the 'Ogden Tables' produced by a working party of lawyers and actuaries under the chairmanship of Sir Michael Ogden QC.
The second edition includes detailed assistance for judges in calculating compensation awards in personal injury and fatal accident cases, which in some cases come to millions of pounds.
The tables now show how to calculate loss of earnings and loss of pension rights, and additional guidance is now included to show how to allow for contingencies other than mortality and to indicate how the amounts may vary according to the circumstances of a claimant.
This includes making allowances for future sickness and unemployment, and how this may vary by occupation, geographical region and future economic growth.
Since the tables were first published in 1984 they have become widely used but in practice have no statutory authority.
However, a recent Law Commission paper stated that new legislation should be framed to encourage the courts to use them
One criticism of the first edition was that the tables failed to take account of contingencies other than mortality. So, the courts felt obliged to adjust the multipliers used according to the variation from the average expectations that they felt applied to individual circumstances.