According to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the longstanding April 2020 deadline for implementing its programme of personal injury (PI) reforms is still on-track.
However, Civil Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC) meeting minutes demonstrate that the MoJ is still yet to table proposals for necessary civil procedure rule amendments and a new pre-action protocol (PAP) to complement the new road-traffic accident (RTA) Portal, which is likely to serve claims up to the value of £5,000.[i]
Compounding this issue, no further discussion can take place, in respect of these new proposals, until after the general election campaign has concluded, on 12 December 2019.
In July of this year, the MoJ promised ‘detailed proposals’ by mid-September, allowing for a month of sub-committee scrutiny ahead of the next CPRC meeting, in October.
However, notes from last month’s meeting, published a week ago, reveal that no aspects of the Portal formed any part of the agenda.
Since no protocol has been agreed thus far, it is unlikely that Portal developer, the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB), will be able to conduct proper testing of the new system this month, as pledged.
President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), Brett Dixon, has blamed the general election process for leaving stakeholders ‘completely in the dark’.
What is evident, is that the Government’s slow progress adds more fuel to the belief of the Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) Head of General Insurance, James Dalton.
In edition 286 of BC Disease News (here), we reported that Mr. Dalton had predicted that the initial plans to increase the small claims track £2,000 for EL/PL claims, in tandem RTA reforms, may foreseeably be deferred until after the latter enter into force, ‘in the context of the serious amount of work that needs to be done to deliver the wider RTA reforms’.
[i] John Hyde, ‘Fresh doubt about April 2020 PI reforms as rule changes left unresolved’ (8 November 2019 Law Gazette) <https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/fresh-doubt-about-april-2020-pi-reforms-as-rule-changes-left-unresolved/5102104.article> accessed 14 November 2019.