The Justice Secretary has announced that the RTA Portal for Whiplash Claims is subject to delay. The original deadline was 6 April 2020, which has now been confirmed to have been exceeded.
The Ministry of Justice have set a new deadline of 1 August 2020.
The reforms propose to tackle the high number and the cost of whiplash claims. The Ministry intends to raise the cut-off point for whiplash-based proceedings on the Small Claims Track to £5000.00, and introduced a fixed damages regime.
The announcement came via a written statement read to Parliament.
The revised version of the reforms which are due to be implement in summer 2020 will no longer include originally-planned assistance for litigants in person. Originally a free-of-charge ADR scheme was intended to be invoked where Claimants were dissatisfied with the level of damages offered by way of settlement, or where liability was denied by the insurer for the Defendant driver. The statement set out that ‘no practicable solution which gave sufficient coverage of ADR for claims could be found’, and therefore ADR will be omitted from the upcoming regime.
The President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has expressed dissatisfaction with this development, considering that the absence of this conflict-resolution mechanism would be prejudicial to litigants who were unrepresented or inexperienced in this area of law.
Children and protected parties will ordinarily be using the Fast Track rather than the Small Claims Track.
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau commented that it was comfortable that the Civil Procedure Rules Committee would be able to meet the newly-scheduled implementation deadline. The rules and Pre-Action Protocol are expected to be published ‘in sufficient time’ prior to implementation; the latest estimates suggest that these will be circulated in May 2020.