Uncertainty about timing of MoJ reforms

There is nothing official from the Ministry of Justice that might indicate what sort of timetable it is now contemplating in respect of proposals first outlined eleven months ago, in the Autumn Statement of 2015, to increase the small claims limit for personal injury claims and to restrict general damages for whiplash claims.

Justice Minister Sir Oliver Heald MP has very recently employed a range of nebulous phrases – giving no clear commitment about dates or timings – when responding to Parliamentary Questions about proposed future reforms. For example:

  • on 19 October in respect of the Autumn Statement proposals he said that Ministers will publish details of further reforms “in the coming months.”
  • on 18 October he said that the Department of Health is looking at fixed recoverable costs in lower value clinical negligence claims and that “it expects to consult as soon as practicable.”
  • he added, also on 18 October, that the Government is keen to extend fixed recoverable costs more widely in civil cases and will consult “in due course.”

It is simply not possible to gauge from these equivocal phrases – the use of which must surely be deliberate – either when any of these measures might be announced or what any associated periods for implementation might be. It would therefore be something of a linguistic game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to attempt to guess the sequencing of these measures.

Faced with this uncertainty as to timing, we can do little other than borrow from Sir Oliver’s approach and undertake to keep you informed in the fullness of time…


About the Author

akAlistair Kinley is BLM’s Director of Policy & Government Affairs.

Alistair is responsible for BLM’s engagement with government departments and regulators on policy and public affairs issues and consultations affecting the firm and its customers. He coordinated BLM’s market-facing activities in connection with the Insurance Act 2015 and the consultations which preceded its publication and introduction in Parliament.

He is a member of the Civil Justice Council (CJC), a regular speaker and experienced commentator on legal and procedural reforms and was a contributing editor to the Law Society’s Litigation Funding Handbook (September 2014).

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