Proposals to reform the litigation funding system that could slash insurers' claims costs came under attack from claimant lawyers this week, who described them as "hollow" and "wrong".

Last month, the Civil Justice Council (CJC) published proposals to streamline the compensation system. Its report recommended raising the fast-track limit for all personal injury claims from £15,000 to £25,000. Raising the limit, experts agreed, would help insurers to set costs estimates and drive down legal bills.

But Richard Langton, vice-president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil), slammed the proposals. He said: "Looking at cases in terms of financial terms rather than the complexities of individual cases is wrong."

He said the report "could have restored some sanity to the situation", but that it had not done so.

The CJC plans to invite all stakeholders to a 'big tent' event in February 2006 to discuss the implications of the report.

But Claire McKinney, past president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, said if Apil refused to compromise on its stance it "could mess up the entire process" for insurers.

Apil's response to the report:

  • It dismissed the recommendation to raise the fast-track limit from £15,000 to £25,000 as "arbitrary", and said a rise had "no justification".
  • The CJC's proposal to introduce a tariff database for road traffic accident claims below £10,000 would be "complicated...prove inflexible and inherently unfair".
  • The CJC's suggested introduction of estimates and budgeting to the legal system would be "disproportionate, impractical and unfair to claimants".