A further month’s delay for whiplash reform

Today’s written statement from the Lord Chancellor indicates that the whiplash reform programme is being delayed by a further month, with implementation now expected in May 2021. His statement begins “The Government remains firmly committed to ….” which, for me, set up expectation of a ‘but’ or ‘however’ later in the piece. Predictably, that comes a few paragraphs in when he says “I do however acknowledge the challenges experienced by all this year in the face of the pandemic.” The Minister offers this, and the need for industry preparedness, as reasons for allowing a delay of a month – “an additional short period of time” – to the implementation plan.

The statement refers to work with the Civil Procedure Rules [sic] Committee and to the “excellent progress” made by the MIB in building the Official Injury Claim platform. It concludes with a confirmation that the reforms remain “a key government priority” and indicates that the one month delay is “a sensible and pragmatic approach to take in order to achieve successful and effective implementation.”

Whether it is realistic to describe undelivered policy proposals dating back to autumn 2015 in such terms may be arguable, but it seems less open to dispute that all parts of the industry would be in a far better position to prepare sensibly, pragmatically, successfully and effectively for these reforms, had the Minister actually released finalised rules and protocols today rather than issuing yet another statement seeking to explain away the latest delay.

Alistair Kinley – Director of Policy and Government Affairs, BLM alistair.kinley@blmlaw.com

Government postpones whiplash reforms to April 2021

It was only the end of February when the Lord Chancellor made a statement pushing implementation back to this August. I commented at the time that it was “very difficult to see further delay after the Lord Chancellor’s intervention today.”

In ordinary times that would surely have been the case. But the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the two months since and the changes it has brought to the government’s priorities have prompted the Lord Chancellor to step in again and confirm a further postponement to April 2021. Although his latest statement refers to the “unprecedented impact on the medical, legal and insurance sectors” of the pandemic it should be noted that it begins with a clearly restated commitment to these reforms.

If there is no further delay then the measures are set to go live some five and a half years after first being outlined in the Autumn Statement of 2015.

The Emperor’s New Clothes? Whiplash reforms delayed for four months to August 2020

Just like the town folk in the fairy tale about the duped naked Emperor, we could all see that something odd was going on here but none of us called it out. The Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland now has.

In a Parliamentary statement today he confirmed that implementation of the whiplash reforms will be delayed until 1 August 2020. He also clarified important aspects of the package of measures, including handling arrangements for vulnerable road users and the shelving of plans for ADR.

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