Four industry experts share their views on what they think the effect will be of the Litigants in Person (LiP) portal deadline being pushed back from April to August

Martin Milliner, general insurance claims director, LV=

“It’s disappointing that the implementation of the portal has been delayed, but with many issues yet to be resolved it’s the right thing to do.

“The most concerning thing for us is the tariff system. Under the current rules, pain, suffering and loss of amenity are looked at in the round, with the main injury being the driver of compensation and the minor one being discounted due to overlap, leading to a small increase in the compensation.

“With a fixed low-level tariff for the main injury – which is what we’ll have with the new portal – this whole process doesn’t work, as it means that someone could get, say, £500 for the whiplash but now a further £1,000 for a bruise or two, which just doesn’t make any sense.

“Currently, only a third of whiplash claims have other non-tariff injuries, but if this issue isn’t resolved then I can guarantee that when the portal is live, everyone will be making claims for bruises and the planned savings will significantly reduce. We urgently need to work through these issues and ensure the portal works in the best way possible.”

Qamar Anwar, managing director, First4Lawyers

“What is important now is that the extra time granted by the delay isn’t wasted.

“The onus is on the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to ensure all the new rules are published without further delay, and all the outstanding issues with the claims process are settled, to allow businesses on all sides the proper time to prepare.

“We also need reassurance that plans have been laid for a much-needed public information campaign. These reforms are bad enough for injured people without them being left clueless on the changes and how even to access the process.

“There remains a significant responsibility on the Ministry of Justice and MIB to focus on the needs of injured people and make sure that these reforms do not end up as the total denial of justice that many fear they will be.”

Matthew Maxwell Scott, executive director, Association of Consumer Support Organisations

“In the troubling absence of a process of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), when liability is disputed – as is often the case – injured people will either have to give up their claim altogether or go to court.

“The decision to scrap ADR directly contradicts earlier reassurances given by ministers and regardless of what they say, it will incentivise insurers to deny liability and therefore cut claims costs.

“Ministers still have plenty of explaining to do, as the new plans don’t sound anything like the sort of slick, modern claims process we were promised, and at this stage there’s a high risk of consumer detriment.

“It’s welcome that ministers have heeded our warnings that injured children and protected parties would have faced almost insurmountable barriers to justice under the previous proposals. The changes set out will help address this, but in future the needs of the most vulnerable people should be addressed first, not as an afterthought.”

Donna Scully, director, Carpenters Group

“The postponement of the reforms reflects cross-industry concern about the state of readiness of the LiP portal, the significant level of ‘unknowns’ about the process and the risk of consumer detriment.

“There are still significant elements of the new process that are not known.

“The new timeframe still leaves little time for insurers and claimant representatives to finish building the part-systems developed to date and to allow full training and proper preparation for the new regime.”