What impact will the mooted judicial review have on the MOJ's new system for RTA claims?

Claimants’ lawyers were never expected to take lying down the new Ministry of Justice fast-track system for processing low value road traffic accident.

And with the reforms due to be implemented next week, the Accident Compensation Solicitors Group (ACSG) has said it is planning a judicial review to derail them.

The changes introduce strict time limits on the stages for processing RTA claims worth between £1000 and £10,000, enabling innocent claimants to achieve a speedy resolution. The changes also mean that lawyers will be awarded fixed costs.

The ACSG’s members are the kind of high street firms which lack the capacity to get on insurers’ legal expenses panels. For such small scale firms, which lack the economies of scale possessed by the heavyweight companies found on panels, the clampdown on costs is likely to be especially stinging.

With costs meant to plunge from a not untypical £22,000 per claim to £2,500, it’s not hard to see why firms that deal with a handful of cases have an interest in derailing the reforms.

Calling on aggrieved firms to sign up to a fighting fund to support the review, the group claims that proper research has not been carried out on whether the fixed costs reflect the true cost of running the claims in question.

Meanwhile, the group’s chairman Elaine Hughes claims that there are still question marks over whether the new system will even launch.

The ACSG is tight-lipped over the grounds on which it will lodge the judicial review and whether it will back a class action. And the Ministry of Justice will be able to argue, having involved APIL and MASS in the formulation of the new system, that it has given PI lawyers enough say.

However, whether it stands much chance of success or not, the mooted action just fuels the prevailing air of uncertainty surrounding next week’s implementation date.

For more, read story: Accident lawyers plan legal challenge to derail reforms.