After increasing media interest in, and tour operator concern about rising numbers of holiday sickness claims, the Ministry of Justice has now asked for rules to limit the legal costs in such cases to be looked at as a priority. These cases are outside current rules on fixed legal costs for injury and disease cases under £25,000 and – as was the case with noise-induced hearing loss claims a few years ago – it would appear reasonably likely that the spike in these cases is fairly closely related to the fact that costs aren’t restricted.
With no coach, no robes, no Duke of Edinburgh – and no majority Government – this was a very different Queen’s Speech. Although Brexit and national security were among its critical themes in a Parliamentary session that has been extended to last for two years rather than one, three Bills directly relevant to the general insurance sector were announced.
Yesterday the Government issued its latest consultation paper about the discount rate to be used for calculating future loss payments in personal injury cases. It has requested views by 11 May which can be fed in via the consultation home page.
The current law on the rate is that the Lord Chancellor sets it and has to follow the return on Index-linked Gilts (ILGS), which is presumed to indicate a risk-free approach to the investment of compensation. If this is going to change it will need legislation to change or repeal the Damages Act 1996 – a point which is confirmed in the Lord Chancellor’s written statement which accompanied the consultation.