By any measure the outcome of yesterday’s election was a significant point in the UK’s politics. The returning of the Conservative government with a chunky majority means, first and foremost, that the UK will leave the EU in a little over six weeks, on 31 January 2020. In advance of a new Queen’s Speech, likely to be next week, are there already indications of what policies to expect from the new administration in the area of civil justice?
The shortest, most accurate, answer is that we simply do not know.
The ‘purdah’ period before the election will see far fewer (if any) communications from civil servants about progress in building the IT platform and refining the policy. Key decisions were to be taken by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee in order to shape the necessary statutory instrument(s) and rules governing the overall scheme of whiplash reform (as outlined in part 1 of the Civil Liability Act 2018) and changes to the small claims track limit.
The day before the Easter weekend the Ministry of Justice published a brief consultation paper on medical reporting options under the whiplash reform programme, including the increase in the small claims limit.
The central proposal is to expand the MedCo scheme to cover obtaining initial medical reports in all motor injury small claims, whether or not the claimant is legally represented. The short period for responses – to 17 May 2019 only – might indicate some renewed momentum within the MoJ given that April 2020 appears to remain its preferred date for implementing the whiplash programme and building the necessary IT platform.