The publication of the government's long-awaited consultation on personal injury has been delayed because of a ministerial change at the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA).

The consultation, the product of two years of research into the personal injury sector, was expected to be published in December.

But Baroness Ashton, the DCA minister who sponsored the Compensation Act, is understood to have relinquished her responsibility for the work

Vera Baird, parliamentary under secretary for the DCA, has now taken over the consultation.

Baird is understood to be trawling through the paper before it is put to the market, prompting speculation that she could re-open the original review.

One source said: "The new minister wants to revisit the consultation paper and make sure it is right. It is possible she could land us back at square one if she decides to re-open the inquiry."

Lord Hunt, who guided the Compensation Act through the House of Lords said: "It is difficult to know what is happening, but you can't just push these things through."