The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling has confirmed that plans to raise the small claims limit for personal injury (PI) are in place and could come into fruition in the future.
Grayling was asked during questions in the House of Commons whether or not he was satisfied that the proposal to raise the limit from £1,000-£5,000, a move that has already caused controversy among the PI Sector would ensure that accident victims could continue to find adequate advice and access to justice when it came to their claims.
He answered saying: “I think the new plans will do that. Indeed, I think there is a case for saying that the small claims court limit of £5000 is too low. I am keen for people to have access to a proper legal process, but the benefit of the small claims court is, in part, arbitration. The plans make the process simpler and cleaner for people who have been through a difficult time.”
His response has caused further friction from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
APIL President Karl Tonks said: “Any arbitrary increase in the small claims court limit for personal injury would just force injured people into a system which is fit only for settling disputes about faulty goods and services, not for dealing with complex matters of law.
“I find it hard to believe that a responsible Government would react in such an irrational and indiscriminate way to a legitimate legal challenge, as suggested in press reports. A petulant side-swipe at injured people as punishment for an attempt to exercise the democratic right to scrutinise the Government’s competence and motives would be a very sinister precedent indeed.”
A consultation has already been held in regards to proposals to increase the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000. It is clear from Chris Grayling’s latest comments that the victims of accidents their right to access justice is the last thing on the Government’s mind when it comes to reforming the industry.
1. The Guardian; Sean Dempsey; http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/sep/05/chris-grayling-announces-legal-aid-reform-u-turn-politics-live-blog