Reflecting on the Queen’s Speech

The latest piece on our RED blog (here) looks at the announcement, in the Queen’s Speech on 18 May 2016, of new insurance-related legislation to facilitate the development of autonomous/driverless vehicles.

The Queen’s Speech also referred proposals to bring forward a British Bill of Rights, which, if it happens, would fulfil the Government’s May 2015 manifesto commitment to repeal and replace the Human Rights Act 1998. Any new legislation in this area could be the vehicle by which Ministers tackle what they perceive as being opportunist claims against the Armed Forces pursued under the HRA and other provisions.

Delivery of the Government’s legislative programme – and, perhaps, the security of Prime Minister’s position – depends to a great extent on the result of the European referendum which will be held on 23 June. Indeed, the leader column of The Times on 19 May pointed out that “Everything Mr Cameron wants to do is contingent on a return to business as usual after June 23, but even then he would have to live with a thin majority, angry Eurosceptic backbenchers, a rebellious House of Lords and a record of U-turning that is beginning to look like habit.”

There was nothing in the Queen’s Speech that would offer a clue as to how the Government would proceed to deliver the reforms to personal injury claims set out by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement some six months ago. It seems increasingly unlikely that we will see any movement on these measures this side of the June referendum, although it is worth pointing out that Justice Minister Lord Faulks QC was at pains to repeat the Government’s commitment to the reforms when he addressed the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ annual conference just two weeks ago.

About the Author

akAlistair Kinley is BLM’s Director of Policy & Government Affairs.

Alistair is responsible for BLM’s engagement with government departments and regulators on policy and public affairs issues and consultations affecting the firm and its customers. He coordinated BLM’s market-facing activities in connection with the Insurance Act 2015 and the consultations which preceded its publication and introduction in Parliament.

He is a member of the Civil Justice Council (CJC), a regular speaker and experienced commentator on legal and procedural reforms and was a contributing editor to the Law Society’s Litigation Funding Handbook (September 2014).

De minimis non curat lex? Er, oh yes it does…

The Latin maxim has it that law does not concern itself with small things. Well, lawyers certainly concern themselves with “small claims” at the moment, with the question of the applicable small claims limit for injury cases never far from debate as we await concrete proposals following the announcement, now nearly six months ago in the Autumn Statement, that the Government wants to raise it to £5,000. The matter is the subject of a House of Commons briefing paper, issued on 3 May 2016, which considers the current financial limits for claims in the small claims track and examines both previous and current proposals for increasing them. Continue reading

Autumn Statement: spring news?

An earlier post in February outlined what seemed then a plausible timetable for progress towards implementation of the Autumn Statement reforms to personal injury claims. In the two months since, the EU referendum campaigns have begun to have a noticeable effect on the Government’s policy-making activity. The Times carried an article by its Whitehall editor on 8 March under the headline “Policies shackled by EU vote ‘lockdown’” which reported that policies had already been postponed and “difficult decisions ducked” as Ministers looked to the referendum.

Although there is nothing is official, it does now look more likely that a consultation paper on the Autumn Statement reforms will not appear until some time after the referendum on 23 June. Despite this likely delay, questions in Parliament earlier this week should serve to reinforce the view that the necessary measures will be taken forward by this Government in due course.

Continue reading