Is your firm ready for the regulatory impact of the whiplash reforms?

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Is your firm ready for the regulatory impact of the whiplash reforms?

Published 21 June 2021

Personal injury practitioners will be familiar with the whiplash reforms which were introduced by the Civil Liability Act 2018 (CLA) and which came into force on 31 May 2021. The reforms change the way that consumers can claim for whiplash injuries following road traffic accidents. In particular, the CLA introduces a ban on offers to settle whiplash claims without a medical report. The ban applies to regulated professionals including those regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA).

The CLA requires the SRA to have appropriate arrangements in place to monitor and enforce compliance with these restrictions. Solicitors should be aware that the SRA has amended its Regulatory and Disciplinary Procedure Rules (see rule 1.2(b)) to refer specifically to the CLA. This means that the SRA will treat a failure by a regulated person to comply with the ban as a breach of the Code.

The definition of a regulated person is not limited to admitted solicitors. Any unadmitted fee earners acting on a claim within a regulated law firm are covered by the SRA’s regulatory regime . Accordingly, any employees of a solicitor’s firm who work on these claims must be made aware that they could be subject to SRA action if they breach the ban.   

The approach taken by the SRA is consistent with the intention of the CLA. However, practitioners have been allowed some flexibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic and medical assessments can be conducted remotely at present.  It is clear that despite this flexibility, the SRA will take any attempt by firms or individuals to settle claims without any medical evidence very seriously and all those practising in the personal injury field should ensure that they comply in order to avoid exposure to regulatory action.

For advice on any regulatory issues affecting your firm please contact DACBeachcroft’s regulatory team.

Authors

Catrin Davies

Catrin Davies

Newport

+ 44 (0)1633 657682

Freddie Beard

Freddie Beard

Bristol

+44(0)117 918 2049

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