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Published 11 August 2014
On 4 August, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) finally published its long awaited response to the latest consultation on whiplash reform, focusing on the medico-legal reporting process in soft tissue injury claims.
By regulating who provides the report, what evidence they have at their disposal, and what they are paid for producing the report, the MoJ says it will introduce an 'improved, robust system for medical evidence which will deter unnecessary or speculative claims'. As part of the overall package of reform to civil litigation funding and costs brought about by Jackson LJ and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 these changes will, say the MoJ, 'improve the service for those with genuine claims and will also enable further reductions to be made to the insurance premiums of motorists.'
A summary of the key changes are as follows:
For further details, please click here.
The necessary procedural changes were approved by the Civil Procedure Rules Committee (CPRC) on 4 July, and were laid before parliament on 1 August. They will come into force on 1 October by virtue of the enabling Statutory Instrument (SI 2014/2044) - The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 6) Rules 2014, and will apply to all soft tissue injury claims where the Claim Notification Forms (CNFs) is submitted through the electronic portal on or after 1 October 2014.
In his letter addressed to all interested stakeholders, Lord Faulks made it abundantly clear that the proposed changes to the Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury Claims in Road Traffic Accidents (the 'RTA Protocol'), CPR 36 (Part 36 offers) and CPR 45 (Fixed Costs) required to implement the upcoming changes from 1 October represent only the first tranche of reform. Warning practitioners of further changes to come by the end of the year, he confirmed that the second tranche of reform will include a full accreditation process for medico-legal experts who produce reports in soft-tissue injury claims, and reiterated the Government's determination to ban either party from commissioning a report via an intermediary in which they have a financial interest.
For more information click on the links below:
Andrew Parker, Peter Allchorne, David Williams, Joanna Folan