Organisations can start entering their details between now and April

Claimant representatives and compensator organisations are now able to register for the new Litigation in Person (LiP) portal, as the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) today opened the registration window on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Described by MIB chief executive Dominic Clayden as a “significant milestone”, firms that subscribed to receive email notifications from the MIB have been sent registration launch details – businesses are now able to register on the portal at any time between now and the official launch of the service, scheduled for April 2020.

The MIB stated that this advanced registration period has been designed to help organisations prepare for the service’s launch – this includes enabling firms to set up on the portal, create accounts for web users and allow testing on how to integrate the service into organisations’ current processes.

The MIB initially started testing for the portal back in November last year; the second phase of testing started this month.

‘Significant milestone’

The introduction of the LiP portal is one facet of the Civil Liability Act, known colloquially within the industry as ’the whiplash reform’; part one of this litigation received Royal Assent in December 2018.

The portal is intended to empower claimants to process their own personal injury claims online, up to a revised £5,000 limit, without the aid of a solicitor; this is an increase on the previous £1,000 small claims limit.

Clayden said: “Today’s launch is a significant milestone for the successful delivery of the new service to support the whiplash reforms set by the Ministry of Justice.

“By opening up the registration window today, we are able to give organisations the chance to choose a registration time that best suits them in the coming weeks. There is still much to do ahead of launch but from an MIB perspective, work on the build has gone well and overall delivery is in good shape.

“The website you can see today will be updated at launch to put consumers centre stage – and support and guide them simply and quickly through the new process.

“This is a service built with consumers at its heart and shaped with their input. The second round of testing amongst consumers is currently underway and we will publish high level results in the coming weeks.”

To assist firms with the registration process, the MIB has additionally created reference user guides that are available to download.

Sector doubts

Although the MIB still references April this year as the delivery deadline for the new portal, many within the industry have their doubts on whether this is an achievable aim – some quote October as a more realistic goal, or even April 2021.

For example, Shirley Woolham, chief executive at Minster Law, said: “We all want to share in the success of the new platform and deliver a great service to customers, but customers’ interests must be at the heart of the programme.

“Our own investment in digital support for customers has underlined the vital future role digital will play in delivering low cost access to justice. To get it right, however, has taken us several years of effort and investment, including rigorous customer-testing.

“The lesson for the government’s LiP portal is don’t foist it on the public until it is ready.

“I fear there are a whole heap of things wrong with how the portal is being developed.”