As anticipated, the Whiplash Injury Regulations were passed by the Lords in Committee yesterday. Several speakers referred to the need to guard against what I would call symptom creep, ie the presentation of non-whiplash minor injuries becoming far more common than now in light of the tariffs in the regulations reducing awards for whiplash. In responding to this concern the Minister, Lord Wolfson, was “confident that judicial expertise will address these matters on a case-by-case basis, but we will look vigilantly to ensure that the regulations are not undermined, whether by the claims management industry or otherwise, by people reordering their claims so that minor injuries become the main part of their claim.”
In something of an unexpected move, Lord Wolfson had issued a short written statement before the debate that revived the proposed increase in the small claims limit in non-motor claims, EL & PL in particular, a topic on which the MoJ has been entirely silent for well over a year or more. Frankly, it had seemed fall away completely … but as of yesterday it is definitely back on the government’s agenda, with Lord Wolfson confirming decisions to “limit the proposed increase in the small claims limit for all other personal injury claims to £1,500 instead of £2,000 and to defer the implementation of this measure until April 2022.”
The Secretary of State for Justice communicated the statement to the Commons today and it seems likely that he, or one of his junior Ministers, will revisit these issues when the Commons debates the Whiplash regulations in the next few weeks.
Written by Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at BLM