Group chairman confirms application for judicial review of changes to low-value RTA claims

Accident lawyers are preparing to mount a judicial review to derail the government’s new fast-track system for processing low-value road traffic accidents (RTAs).

The Ministry of Justice’s reforms governing RTA claims worth between £1,000 and £10,000 are due to go live on 30 April.

But the Accident Compensation Solicitors’ Group (ACSG) is seeking to use a legal challenge to stop their implementation. The reforms would limit the fees paid to lawyers and cut insurers’ costs.

ACSG chairman Elaine Hughes, of Humberside-based Barton Solicitors, confirmed that the group was planning a judicial review.

“We are looking to issue an application some time in the near future.”

She refused to provide details of the grounds on which the review would be mounted or whether it would be a class action or a single case. But she said that a number of claimants’ lawyers were experiencing difficulties with using the new portal through which all claims are meant to be processed.

Those difficulties included inputting information into the system.

She added that her practice would not use the portal because of concerns surrounding the confidentiality of client information.

Weightmans partner Chris Ball said: “There will be lots of lawyers looking at the rules and looking at ways of circumventing them.”

A spokesman for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), which has worked with the MoJ on developing the new system, said: “When the Lord Chancellor told APIL in 2007 that the small claims court limit would not be increased, he also said that ‘doing nothing was not an option’.

“We therefore had little choice but to get involved in the discussions and negotiations on the new regime, to try to ensure the needs of injured people were kept at the centre of the process.

“While this is an interesting development, and one which we will monitor, we have no plans to support it.”

The reforms are designed to clamp down on legal costs for processing low-value RTA claims and cut the time for processing claims.