Whiplash reforms go ahead – one year on

Some 51 weeks after the ideas were first outlined in the 2015 Autumn Statement, the Ministry of Justice has finally started consultation on what the necessary measures to put a brake on the worst excesses of whiplash claims should look like. The consultation paper can be accessed here.

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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.

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Ministerial unity on claims reform

The Government is determined to crack down on the compensation culture and has announced reforms, including raising the small claims limit, to tackle the problem … [and] will consult on the detail of these reforms in due course, with a view to implementing them as soon as the necessary legislation is in place.”

The two passages above are taken from separate answers to PQs given very recently by Treasury and Justice Ministers. The full text of both answers is set out in the body of this post.

The comments clearly show that both departments and both ministers remain committed to the general damages and small claims reforms set out in the 2015 Autumn Statement.

Consultation on these measures is expected to commence sometime after the European referendum on 23 June. That said, the Government’s legislative and policy priorities could change should the decision of the electorate be for the UK to leave the EU.

Those following the EU debate on reform closely may spot that the ministers who are united here on claims reform nevertheless find themselves on opposing sides of the European question. Continue reading