The above is hardly a title to inspire fans of JK Rowling’s most famous character. However, there is a strong link to her best-selling books about the boy wizard in the recent decision on appeal in the road accident claim Cameron v Hussain. The unexpected common feature is bringing legal proceedings against unidentified people.
In 2003, Ms Rowling’s publishers, Bloomsbury, successfully sought an injunction to prevent persons unknown from publishing one of the Harry Potter novels before its scheduled release. The basis of the court’s discretion to allow an action against persons unknown has been developed further in the intervening decade and half, albeit generally in the context of injunctions rather than actions for damages.
On the same day this week that Chancellor Philip Hammond said the government would “progress urgently” to consult about the personal injury discount rate, the Petitions Committee, working jointly with the Transport Committee, heard evidence about the cost of car insurance for young drivers. The topic will be debated in Parliament after a petition calling for a £1,200 cap on the cost of car insurance for young drivers secured more than 180,000 signatures. The Parliamentary debate is scheduled for 20 March and it may be mere coincidence that this is the same date on which the statutory instrument bringing in the new negative discount rate is scheduled to take effect.
Today the MoJ published part 1 of its response to the recent whiplash consultation, which is well ahead of the expected date of 7 April – make of that what you will.
It will also publish the Prison and Courts Bill today, the legislative framework for implementing these reforms (along with secondary rules and CPR changes). The changes planned should apply from 1 October 2018; although the transitional trigger is not yet clear (the consultation indicated it could be for ‘accidents on or after’). The principal elements announced today are set out below.