The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers’ (APIL) annual conference ends today, 18 April 2018, with what looks to be a timely “Law Reform and litigation update” session covering the discount rate, clinical negligence, small claims, court reforms and gastric illness. The keynote address yesterday was delivered by MoJ Minister Lord Keen, who touched on most of these topics in his speech. It is understood he did not take questions after the speech and left very promptly.
The MoJ has just released Lord Keen’s speech on civil justice reform and while it is worth reading, it really does not say anything new about the Government’s reform agenda and its preferred timetable for change.
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.
The noise associated with the Government’s proposal to increase the small claims limit for injury cases to £5,000 may have drowned out another equally important announcement in the Autumn Statement: that some £700 million has been allocated to the MoJ to bring the court service up to date. A short summary was posted on The Policy Blog at the end of November.
This initiative is absolutely not about securing more IT spend so that courts can do more of the things they do now but more efficiently, nor is it just about arranging more video-conferences and attendances. It is a quite fundamental rethink of accessing the courts digitally, how they are structured and how cases and evidence are managed.