RTA reforms delayed to 2020

20 September 2018

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the proposed reforms in relation to how low value whiplash claims are handled are due to be delayed to 2020.

Initially the Government suggested the date for implementation was April 2019. However in response to the critical report issued by the Justice Committee earlier this year, these reforms will now be applied by April 2020.

The reforms involve a tariff for fixed and reduced damages for RTA claims, together with a new £5000 small claims limit. This would effectively prevent solicitors from recovering their costs for any cases worth less than £5000, which is believed to account for around 96% of RTA claims.

Insurers have stated the changes will bring some benefits, for example, motorist will save around £35 on their motor premiums. However, commentators have predicted that thousands of jobs could be at risk if the changes are implemented in full. Both proposal are likely to result in litigant running their own claims Online platform- The introduction of a new platform to deal with motor claims is cited as the reason for the delay. The MOJ went on to say 'There will need to be extensive user testing in order to ensure that the system is easy to use for all user groups and that the guidance is clear. We agree with the committee and our stakeholders that it is crucial that these reforms and the implementation of the online platform is done right rather than quickly.’

The Law Society president, Joe Egan, stated “In our submission to the select committee we outlined the extensive steps that can be required in low-value personal injury claims. We also highlighted new research findings that show 76% of medical experts would not accept instructions from claimants without a lawyer”. Many have argued that the changes will mean claimants involved in a road traffic accident will struggle to get justice.