Thank you for contacting me about the proposed changes to the small claims court, which I previously wrote about here prior to the closing of the Government’s consultation on the subject.
Road traffic accident personal injury claims, about 90 per cent of which are whiplash claims, are 50 per cent higher than a decade ago, despite the UK having some of the safest roads in Europe, better in-car safety features, and a fall in the number of accidents. The small claims track limit for personal injury claims has not been raised for 25 years since 1991 and a rise is long overdue. Raising the small claims limit would mean both sides bear their own legal costs.
With a view to tackling the continuing high number and cost of whiplash claims, and following consultation, Ministers have made a number of policy decisions, including increasing the small claims limit for road traffic accident related personal injury claims, to £5,000 and the limit for all other types of personal injury claim to £2,000.
The Government is of the view that low value personal injury claims are not so complex as to routinely require a lawyer. The new tariff will further reduce the need for legal input as the tariff introduces predictability. Claimants who wish to seek legal representation will not be barred from doing so, and there is a significant amount of help and support available to all claimants who act in person.
The changes to the small claims track, alongside wider reforms, are intended to end the cycle in which motorists pay higher insurance premiums due to the high number of minor, exaggerated and fraudulent whiplash claims by others. The cost to all motorists from the continuing high number and cost of these ‘minor’ and ‘straightforward’ claims is too great. It is right for the Government to take firm action to reduce the financial burdens on consumers.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.