Last week the Ministry of Justice responded to the Justice Committee’s report on small claims published in May. Paragraph 36 of the MoJ’s response confirms that the Government will postpone implementation of the whiplash and small claims reform programme until at least April 2020. Justice Committee Chair Bob Neill MP then wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice to seek further clarification on certain aspects of the reforms.
His letter dated 18 July (released on 23 July) is brief and largely self-explanatory. The need for testing of any new online platform / portal for small claims is again raised, as are concerns around the support for people using the new platform to pursue claims themselves. The Government’s proposed amendment to the Civil Liability Bill (the text of which is as yet unpublished), by which insurers would report on passing on savings from these reforms, is also highlighted.
The House of Lords has completed its scrutiny of the Bill and it (the Bill) has already been scheduled to be debated (at second reading) in the Commons on 4 September. As that is the first day back after the summer recess we suspect that little, if anything, is going to happen before then. Having said that, the issues addressed in the letter – and in the Justice Committee’s small claims report to which it refers – look very likely to be raised at when the Bill is considered on 4 September.
We would expect any detailed responses and/or further Government amendments to emerge after that and probably no earlier than mid to late October given that the party conference recess will run from 13 September to 9 October.
Authored by Alistair Kinley, director of policy and regulatory affairs