Lawyers are urging the government not to let Helen Grant’s removal from the role of Justice Minister affect the upcoming announcement on whiplash reform.
With Ms Grant moving on to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Shailesh Vara MP (pictured) replacing her, there are concerns from the personal injury sector that the reshuffle may cause further unnecessary and costly delays on the decision that will determine the future of whiplash claims.
The decision on whiplash reform was originally delayed in May to allow the Transport Select Committee to release their report findings before any major decision about the future of whiplash claims was decided. It is hoped that these findings will provide a positive outcome for the personal injury sector after the committee found in their favor and opposed the raising of the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000.
But it would come as no shock if the government were to use the delay to find a way to bypass the committee’s findings and go ahead with their original proposals it and would have a devastating impact for the personal injury industry but more importantly the genuine accident victim.
Speaking earlier this year in regards to what affect the proposals to increase the small claims limit will have on genuine claimants, Scott Rees solicitor and Merseyside Co-ordinator for MASS (Motor Accident Solicitors Society), David Bryne said: “Claimants will be forced to act in person; insurers will have to instruct solicitors as they cannot appear in their own right, so there is an obvious imbalance there. The effect will be that either the courts will be clogged up with litigants in person, or insurers will use their advantage to bounce claimants into either settling prematurely or giving up.
“The small claims limit is not about reducing costs, reducing fraud etc… it is a direct attack on people’s access to justice. Personal injury claims worth £5,000 are not simple and it is not realistic to suggest that a client can deal with it without legal representation.”
All eyes and ears are now on the government with an announcement on the future of the small claims limit and in whiplash reform expected in the not too distant future. It is hoped the government will stick to this and avoid any more unnecessary uncertainty for the personal industry.
1. Youtube; BLD Lawyers; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQMI5q-PRgY