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Grayling on collision course over PI claims

12 December 2012
The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced a 4 month consultation period in which he will consider:
  1. An increase in the small claims limit from £1,000 - £5,000 for whiplash claims
  2. Setting up independent medical panels to confirm a diagnosis of whiplash
Only limited fixed costs are available in the small claims court and solicitors are not normally involved on behalf of claimants. The change, if implemented may lead to claimants dealing directly with third party insurers unless they chose to pay for representation. The Association of British Insurers estimates that the legal costs involved in whiplash claims add on average £90 to each motorist’s policy. This is merely a consultation and we can expect a strong claimant lobby in opposition. If implemented, given the average level of awards in these cases, it would arguably exclude claimant solicitors from this area of work. It will be interesting to see if the government has the will to push this reform through or whether it is a seasonal piece of headline grabbing.  Those with reasonable short term memories will recall that Lord Justice Jackson decided in 2009 that there was no need to extend the small claims track.

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