Portal launch delay had been widely anticipated

The litigants in person portal, part of the government’s reforms to how whiplash claims are handled, has been delayed until August, the Ministry of Justice confirmed today.

In a written statement, the lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice Robert Buckland said the government ”has decided that more time is necessary to make sure the Whiplash Reform Programme is fully ready for implementation”.

”We have always been clear that we need to do this right rather than hastily.

”In particular, we need to provide sufficient time to work with the Civil Procedure Rules Committee to put in place the supporting rules and pre-action protocol and to give industry sufficient time to prepare their businesses for the changes to how small road traffic personal injury claims are managed.

”We will also lay the statutory instrument in Parliament to introduce the tariff of damages for whiplash injuries.

”In the light of this, the Government has decided to implement these reforms on 1 August 2020. The necessary rules and pre-action protocol, and the statutory tariff, will be published in sufficient time before implementation.”

Alternative dispute resolution

Buckland also announced that the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) function of the portal would no longer be included.

”Initially, the government proposed to include a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution to enable liability and quantum claims to be adjudicated.

”However, in the event, no practicable solution which gave sufficient coverage of ADR for claims could be found.

”As a result, ADR will no longer be part of the online service. Instead, we will ensure access to justice by developing bespoke processes to enable litigants to go to court to establish liability.”

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 was 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.

The first two testing phases were completed in November last year.