A2J urges Truss to do justice to the personal injury consultation period

1 December 2016

Access to Justice (A2J) has written to the MoJ asking for the consultation period for personal injury reform to be extended beyond the current deadline of 6 January 2017.

Spokesperson Andrew Twambley said that for such an important issue, which has significant implications for civil justice, the MoJ has “misjudged the amount of time required for interested parties to respond, particularly as the consultation contains new elements which the claims sector has not been informed about beforehand.”

He said: “The Christmas holiday effectively shortens the consultation period to six weeks which is unreasonable. The government’s own code of practice notes that consultation periods are flexible ‘depending on the issue and whether interested groups have already been engaged in the policy making process. For a new and contentious policy, 12 weeks or more may still be appropriate.’”

Twambley said: “Whether interested groups have been ‘engaged’ is moot, especially as parts of the impact assessment were written in 2015 and contain information that is now out of date.

“We also believe that these proposed reforms are highly contentious. The MoJ’s proposals threaten to sweep away consumer’s rights of redress under tort law that have been part of British life for centuries.”

“Giving so short a timescale to the consultation is thoughtless at best, especially as the consultation is now far wider than the original proposal to ban soft tissue injury claims and increase the small claims limit.

Twambley explained that new initiatives included:

  • Introduction of a fixed tariff system
  • Implementation of certain recommendations made by the Insurance Fraud Taskforce
  • Credit hire
  • Early notification of claims;
  • Rehabilitation;
  • Recoverability of disbursements
  • Banning pre-medical offers

“Overall, if the desire is to do this fairly, properly and transparently, then six weeks over Christmas is not the way to go about it. This is an unnecessary and entirely avoidable imposition on the whole claimant sector. “

We urge justice ministers to live up to their name and extend the consultation to 12 weeks, which will do justice to the importance of these proposed reforms.”

About A2J: A2J represents the interests of the public and is supported by the broader personal injury (PI) sector. Its prime focus is to respond to the government’s proposed road traffic accident compensation reforms. A2J provides a cohesive voice to fight these proposed draconian measures; it will work with the government and other interested parties to create sensible, balanced alternatives which protect individuals’ rights, while addressing the government’s concerns, particularly in relation to claims fraud.

For more information please contact: Ben Welsh 07568 382040