Government proposals for personal injury claims reform to be published next month

Justice Minister Bridget Prentice has told the House of Commons that government proposals to reform the personal injury claims process will be ready by the end of March.

Prentice blamed the delays to the proposals, that were due last year, on the need to consider the responses it received from the industry.

Prentice said: “These proposals represent a significant reform of the claims process for personal injury claims.

“It has been important to give consideration to the numerous and diverse range of views we have received.”

Prentice was responding to questions posed by Conservative MP Henry Bellingham into the government’s plans for reforming the claims process and fast-track case limits.

The MoJ has been criticised by the insurance industry amid speculation it planned to water down claims reform proposals – that were supposed to be released last autumn – or do away with them altogether.

The ABI said it would be increasing calls for action and that it would not let the government sweep the issue under the carpet. The ABI has blamed trade unions and personal injury claims lawyers for trying to block the government reforms.

The main areas of debate surround extending the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000, implementing set fees for lawyers, mass changes to after-the-event insurance premiums and doing away with referral fees.

Prentice said the MoJ had not assessed the impact of referral fees in personal injury claims and that it fell under the jurisdiction of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

She said: “The SRA is currently reviewing the provisions on referral fees and considering a range of options to improve compliance.”