January 2019 – Civil Liability Bill: Workplace Injuries and Small Claims Limit

January 2019 – Civil Liability Bill: Workplace Injuries and Small Claims Limit

Thank you to those who have contacted me about the proposed increase to the small claims limit.

I completely understand questions regarding plans to increase the small claims limit for employers and public liability personal injury claims, and I agree that it is important that the limit is not disproportionately increased. That said, I feel that the proposed increase to £2,000, in line with inflation since 1991 when the current limit of £1,000 was set, is appropriate and reasonable.

With the last increase to the small claims limit made in 1991, followed by a minor technical change to what should be included in the limit made in 1999, it has been decades since the limit was last amended. Reform of the limit is therefore long overdue, with the proposed increase scheduled to come into effect in April 2020. This is part of wider reforms to the small claims track limit for managing whiplash injuries and minor injuries in road traffic accidents.

Following a 2016 consultation on raising the small claims limit to £5,000, I am glad that the Government listened to concerns and instead limited the rise for claims relating to workplace injuries to £2,000, in line with inflation. The personal injury small claims track limit has been set at £1,000 since 1991, and the Government has used the Retail Price Index to calculate the increase to £2,000 to ensure consistency with the way such increases are dealt with by the Judicial College Guidelines.
I should also say that I agree that the small claims track is the right one for these relatively straightforward claims which do not routinely require help from a lawyer to settle. The vast majority of these claims already settle without going to court, and I welcome the fact that the Government is developing a helpful new accessible IT portal to support claimants to bring forward claims quickly and efficiently, with or without a lawyer.

All employers are required by law to report accidents and dangerous occurrences in the workplace to the Health and Safety Executive, which will continue to investigate and prosecute those at fault irrespective of whether a personal injury claim arises from an incident.