As anticipated in yesterday’s blog about the Bill’s second reading, various amendments from the government and oppositon have now been published. These will be debated next week, in Committee stages scheduled for 11 and 13 September. Both sets of amendments address the whiplash reforms in part 1 of the Bill and don’t touch* on the discount rate measures in part 2, which seems to be a clear sign that it is far less politically-charged than whiplash. Continue reading
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.
Parliament will sit again on 22 February 2016 after a short recess. It will then be exactly 90 days since the Autumn Statement of 25 November in which George Osborne announced reforms to restrict general damages in soft tissue injury claims and to increase the small track limit for injury claims to £5,000. In that period we have not seen the start of any formal consultation on either measure, although the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has conducted informal discussions with a range of stakeholders as it refines its thinking on the detail that will go to out to consultation.