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

Lord Chief Justice questioned by Constitution Committee

On 27 April the House of Lords Constitution Committee questioned the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, on four main points: the recruitment and retention of judges, diversity in the legal profession, public perception of the legal system, and the programme to modernise the court estate. This Committee session took place more or less six months after the Lord Chief’s annual press conference last November.

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An overload of acronyms, as MoJ & HMT issue ToR for CMC review

Two points in the Chancellor’s summer budget would probably have come as a surprise to those involved in insurance business.

The increase in premium tax from 6% to 9.5% for polices written after 1 November 2015 will hardly have been welcomed. The Treasury expects this to raise half a billion pounds in the 2015/16 financial year and around one and a half billion pounds annually in future years. The lead-time was really quite limited, with 1 November less than four months after the Chancellor’s budget speech in early July. We might have expected an April 2016 implementation of this new tax rule, given that Government reforms tend to attach on either 6 April or 1 October of each year (these being known as “common commencement dates”). One very plausible explanation for the adoption of a 1 November for the higher IPT rate is that it will allow the Treasury to collect higher rate of IPT on the vast numbers of policies renewing on 1 January and on 1 April 2016.

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