Government pushes date back for “extensive testing”
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has confirmed the government will delay its whiplash reform measures from 1 April 2019 to April 2020. The news was delivered in an MoJ response to the Justice Select Committee’s report on Small Claims Limit for Personal Injury.
In its response the MoJ wrote: “The government is acutely aware that the proposed approach will fundamentally transform how whiplash claims are handled and that any concerns around access to justice have to be addressed promptly.
“There will need to be extensive user testing in order to ensure that the system is easy to use for all user groups and that the guidance is clear.”
The MoJ noted that it was crucial the reforms, and implementation of the online portal, was “done right rather than quickly”. Adding: “This is why the government is now proposing for the platform to be ready for large-scale testing by October 2019 with the view to implementing the whiplash measures, including the rise in the small claims limit to £5,000, fully in April 2020.”
Reaction from stakeholders
The Association of British Insurers stated it was pleased that the MoJ “remains committed” to the changes. James Dalton, director of general insurance policy commented:
“Getting the implementation of these reforms right is absolutely critical if the system is to deliver fairer outcomes for claimants and millions of motorists so it is sensible to delay implementation until April 2020.”
Andrew Twambley, spokesperson for Access to Justice (A2J) also welcomed the delay but also criticised the overall changes:
“Creating, testing and implementing new user-friendly technology to deal with injury claims is enormously complex, and the government’s IT track record is dreadful,” said Twambley. “Ministers have yet to explain why a computer, built and administered by insurers, is better for injured people than a legal professional who is 100% on the side of that injured person”. “The MoJ has again ducked this question in its response to the Select Committee.”