Civil Liability Bill delayed: whiplash reforms put off until 2021

Civil Liability Bill delayed: whiplash reforms put off until 2021

The Civil Liability Bill, which after a further delay was due to come into force this August, has been put back again due to the coronavirus crisis.

Reforms intended to address the rise in whiplash and other personal injury claims, which government believed were a symptom of a ‘compensation culture’, will now be implemented in April 2021 instead. Originally planned for implementation in April 2019, this is the third time that the reforms have been postponed.

What are the reasons for the delay?

Back in February, there were already delays to the launch of the portal users will have to use under the new rules to process their own claims[1]. Now, the further delay to implementation of the Bill is being laid at the feet of the coronavirus crisis, due to the “unprecedented impact” the pandemic has had on the medical, legal and insurance sectors[2].

Robert Buckland QC, Secretary of State for Justice, said in a written ministerial statement that “now is not the time to press ahead with significant transformational change to the personal injury sector.”

“While whiplash reforms remain important,” he stated, “the government is committed to acting to ease the disruption and pressured caused by the Covid-19 outbreak where it can.”

What will the reforms mean when they do come into force?

The aim of the reforms is to reduce any ‘crash for cash’ or compensation-driven personal injury claims which have risen by 40% in the UK since the mid-2000s[3].

The changes will mean that compensations tariffs are fixed at lower rates, and that a medical report would be needed to enable a claim settlement.

Claimants will also be required to manage their own claims through a dedicated portal, and more of these claims will go through the small claims court, whose limit will be increased from £1,000 to £5,000.

For more details on the Bill, see our previous article here.

 

[1] https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/whiplash-reforms-delayed-as-moj-removes-claimants-safety-net/5103237.article

[2] https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/whiplash-reforms-delayed-until-april-2021

[3] Source: ALPS (Auto Legal Protection Services), 2019.