A2J Release: Civil Liability Bill Announced

Commenting on the Government’s decision to publish the Civil Liability Bill, Andrew Twambley, spokesperson for Access to Justice, which is campaigning against the proposals, said:

On whiplash reform

“The government is seeking to fix a problem that is already being fixed, without the need for legislation. Whiplash claims have fallen sharply in the last twelve months, and the cost of claims has also fallen sharply.”

“The government’s own figures show that the savings accruing from these reforms are likely to be £16-18, not £35, as the MoJ contends, and only three insurers have said they’ll give those savings to their customers. Nearly 80% of the public say the insurers will not hand back any money.”

“For the sake of £18, 600,000 people injured in road traffic accidents each year will be denied access to legal advice if they want to go to court and claim for their injuries, but if they do go to court, insurers will have continue to be able to call on a battery of lawyers  to defend their interests.

“MPs will now have the chance to look at the governments proposals in detail, and they will see that that there is little substantive reason for reform, beyond keeping the insurance industry happy.”

“We believe there are better ways to regulate the market without the sledgehammer approach of legislation. The government has a golden opportunity to work with all sides of the industry to find a solution that protects ordinary people and ensures they continue to have access to justice.”

On the discount rate

Since 2008, insurers benefitted from a punitive discount rate (2.5%) at the expense of catastrophically injured people. The government re-balanced the rate in early 2017 to make compensation fairer, but fairness is evidently not something insurers subscribe to, especially if their record-breaking profits and dividends are threatened.

We await the detail within the Bill and note that the government has taken account of the recommendations of the Justice Committee Report. It is essential that the rights of critically injured people are upheld, and that the government acknowledges that protection against serious injury is why we all pay our insurance premiums.”