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Suspension of whiplash reforms offers scope for improvement

18 July 2018

News the government is to delay the implementation of changes to the rules around personal injury claims - which would have limited people’s ability to access legal advice while mounting a claim - was today welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales.

Plans to increase the small claims limit to £5,000 for motoring claims were originally to be implemented in April 2019 but have now been put back to April 2020.

Law Society president Christina Blacklaws said: “We welcome this delay. Increasing the small claims limit would restrict people’s ability to access legal advice while making a claim.

“We set out our concerns to the Commons Justice Select Committee and their report, which the government has today responded to, mirrored our submission and included our complexity chart, which illustrates some of the thorny issues a claimant might face when bringing a claim without proper legal representation.

“It is a mistake to equate the value of a claim with its complexity and to conclude that representation is not needed. Personal injury claimants require legal representation to bring claims.

“Raising the small claims limit to the levels proposed risks removing solicitors from the process. Claimants would be unable to bring claims, or would be left with a long, complex route in order to seek the compensation they are entitled to. Many would be driven to use the services of Claims Management Companies (CMCs).

“Increasing the small claims limit to £5,000 for all road traffic accident claims will effectively deny access to justice to all victims of road traffic accidents, including vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

“These changes will have a significant impact on access to justice and we are calling on the government to reconsider its decision.”

Ends

Notes to editors

Our illustration highlighting some of the issues a claimant might face when bringing a claim without proper legal representation is included below.

Download the infographic (PDF 1mb)

Litigant in Person infographic

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Catherine Reed | catherine.reed@lawsociety.org.uk | 020 8049 3768