Simmons v Castle (2012) in United Kingdom
“Lord Jackson (a senior judge) had produced a report recommending certain reforms should be made to the civil justice system to try to reduce the cost of litigation. Some of the key recommendations of this report were included by the Government in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. But the legislation did not include a proposed reform to increase the award of damages by 10 per cent. The government stated that calculation of damages was governed by the common law and it would be left to the courts to make this change. The Court of Appeal subsequently announced in Simmons v Castle (2012) that this increase would take effect from the 1st April 2013 at the same time as the 2012 Act would come into force. The Court of Appeal stated that when the 2012 Act was passed there was a ‘clear understanding that the judges would implement the ten per cent increase.’ And that it would be “little short of a breach of faith” if the judges failed to do so. The problem with the courts changing the law in this way is that it throws into doubt how independent they are from the politicians. Also, the judges do not have the benefit of the tight parliamentary scrutiny. After the case was decided, the Association of British Insurers applied for the Court of Appeal to reopen its decision because it was unhappy that the decision would apply retrospectively to cases that had commenced before April deadline and thereby increase the cost of these cases for the insurance companies.”
Source: Update to English Legal System (Elliot).
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