The MoJ's reforms have left claimants in the lurch.
How Insurance Times broke the story in January:
Government set to back down on PI reforms
So at last the Ministry of Justice has pronounced on its plans for personal injury process reform.
However, I am bound to say having read the response paper: "Is that it?"
“We have moved from the Grand Plan of April 2007 to what amounts to little more than tinkering.
After over a year's delay, we have moved from the Grand Plan of April 2007 to what amounts to little more than tinkering with the existing system of fixed costs for motor claims valued up to £10,000.
It is not worth dwelling on the reasons for the apparent change of heart from Government, save to say that none of the reasons put forward for backing off from fixed costs in EL accident claims are the least bit convincing. There is nothing in this response paper that will explain to UK Plc the rationale for keeping legal costs so high in workplace accident claims: nothing that justifies the continuing threat of litigation costs to the UK's competitiveness as a business centre.
The insurance industry should not, however, lose focus over the Summer.
“There is little for the individual claimant to cheer in these watered down proposals, as delay and expense will still occur.
There were good reasons why the then Department for Constitutional Affairs said last year: "the current system cannot continue". Those remain valid and would appeal to a different administration following the next General Election. The industry's leaders should make it their business to convince the Opposition of the need to implement more sweeping changes, for the benefit of consumers and business alike.
There is little for the individual claimant to cheer in these watered down proposals, as delay and expense will still occur. Putting the victim at the heart of the system and eradicating those who simply feed off the process must remain primary objectives.
Lord Hunt is a partner and chairman of the Financial Services Division at national commercial law firm, Beachcroft LLP.
See also: MoJ reveals claims reforms